After a CIA agent is murdered, his brother seeks revenge and stumbles onto a plot to create a superhuman killer.
Author Reardon delivers a debut thriller that succeeds on almost every count. He works well with several traditional thriller tropes. At the core of his complex plot is a classic doppelgänger: the protagonist, Tom Blake, hired on to work with the CIA, is not who he says he is. He’s really Tom Reese. Reese stole Blake’s identity as a CIA agent as a way to gain information that will lead him to whomever killed his brother. Reese is canny enough to know that it won’t be long before the CIA discovers he’s an imposter—they’re already pressing for a lie detector test. With a day or less before the agency discovers his cover ID, Reese is in a classic race against time. To complicate matters, Reardon draws on myth by making the real Blake superhuman. In Paris, Project Prometheus had been trying to engineer human killing machines—they’d already doubled the weight of a test chimpanzee, giving it skin like “raw hamburger microwaved gray.” It appears, as well, that some others will kill to turn the eponymous man into their own killer. All Reese lacks as he sets off to find his brother’s killers is a comely companion. Onto the scene Reardon summons Silvana Nast, “one of those people you knew was going to be great-looking even if you only saw them from behind.” Reese and Silvana tear off in a Peugeot, one of many high-octane action scenes Reardon executes with skill. Alas, Reardon is less successful at giving his characters texture or his locales color and life. To keep a swift pace on the trail, telling detail seems to have gone by the wayside.
The chase is all here, and for some that will be enough.