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BLACK LIST by Brad Thor



Pub Date: July 24th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4391-9298-6
Publisher: Emily Bestler/Atria

Thor (Full Black, 2011, etc.) returns with his latest thriller featuring ex-Navy SEAL and counterterrorism operative Scot Harvath.

In this installment, Harvath’s name has been put on a secret enemies list, and he quickly finds himself the target of assassins. (Indeed, when Horvath first appears, he’s already in the middle of dodging bullets.) Harvath and his intelligence colleagues soon uncover a complex plan involving a “digital Pearl Harbor” and a rich and powerful entity aiming for “complete and total control of every man, woman, and child in the United States.” In the 1990s, Thor hosted the PBS travel series Traveling Lite, and his affinity for exotic locales apparently extends to his fiction, with scenes in this novel taking place in France, Spain, Mexico and numerous U.S. locations. As a consequence, however, the narrative is unable to stay with any one character, including Harvath, for very long, giving the book a scattered feel while generating little suspense. Thor is at his best during the action scenes, which move along at a satisfying clip, but between these occasional jolts the author’s prose is bland and workmanlike at best (“Something definitely wasn’t right. In fact, something was very wrong”) with a tendency to dump background information in long digressions. Harvath’s angst-ridden ruminations on the death of a female colleague at times feel a bit forced, and an interrogation scene in which Harvath threatens to have a sniper paralyze a subject’s daughter may also not be to some readers’ tastes. Overall, while Thor’s fans may be satisfied with this latest adventure and look forward to Harvath’s next appearance, the uninitiated may find it merely serviceable.

A fair but predictable thriller.