Gordon McAllister never wanted to be a hero - at least not one who ever got any outward recognition. An executive recruiter by day, McAllister's other job comes with a code name, ZEBRA, the leader of a team of elite assassins who report to only one man: the president of the United States. But he's been inactive for years, perfectly content to spend his time finding CEOs and VPs for Fortune 500 companies. Now, as members of his team are murdered in seemingly unrelated incidents and multiple terror attacks savage civilian targets throughout the country, McAllister realizes it's time once again to screw on the silencer and get back to work. He must reactivate himself and hunt down the man who is behind it all, the one who will do whatever it takes to steal the power he craves and tear the nation to shreds to get it.
©2011 David Workman (P)2015 David Workman
I enjoyed the story very much, it was better than I anticipated for a first time author. He kept the story moving and for the most part, believable. I found the narrator distracting. He tends to read the book instead of tell the story. If you have listened to as many audible books as I have, I assure you there is a difference. Also, he has a hiss with every word that began with a S, which drove me crazy. He definitely needs to work on his craft. However, it was not enough of an annoyance, for me to not enjoy the story line. I look forward to the author's next book. I expect he will get even better with experience.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
This is Workman’s first novel and what a start it is. Gordon McAllister’s code name is ZEBRA; he is the leader of a team of elite assassins who report only to the President of the United States.
Workman is a great storyteller. The plot has many twists and turns, the suspense is palatable. The pace is fast, the book kept me on the edge of my seat to the end. Workman has developed his characters in a realistic manner. I am amazed at the quality of the writing and story for a first novel. I hope Workman will be able to continue the quality with his future books. Steve Williams did a good job narrating the book.
For a first book Workman does a credible job with the story of another covert agent who works directly for the President. It starts out with a real bang but then hits some speed bumps that leave one to wonder what just happened. As with many of the authors who write in this genre the end seems rushed and almost to easy considering all that happened before.
I scored it down as the narrator Steve Williams reads in a monotone that does not due justice to the events in the novel and his range of voices for the various characters is to limited. In other hands it would be a better listen.
Despite dissing this book, I do hope David Workman will try again. I think he has some good ideas and could develop into a decent author.
The narration severely detracts from the story. Williams' voice is tight and high; his attempts to give differentiation to characters fade away immediately then never reappear. The only voice he does decently is a woman's, but they all sound the same. He misplaces emphases and totally misses opportunities to add emphasis for effect; his phrasing is off almost all the time; the intonations and flow are just wrong.
The main problems in the story are:
1) insufficient character development. The ladies are all the same, and of course gorgeous. Why can't people be just normal? The men are also cardboard, regardless of their jobs or personal virtues.
2) unimpressive hero. Supposedly there is a matched pair, a black hat and a white hat. They are both idiots, making stupid tactical errors like assuming but not checking if someone is really dead, or bursting into rooms then being surprised by threats there. You can't distinguish them and neither is impressive in his skills or brains.
3) stupid non-English-isms such as "if worst came to worst" or ""he stammered to get up."
4)story wrapped up very quickly--in about 20 minutes-- with most of it explanation rather than action
5) unexplained "important" stuff--McAllister is plagued by dreams of his team dying at a cabin. Then when he recognizes the place, there is no explanation as to why he knows it, when he was ever there before, and what happened to the team.
6) Failed connections to famous movies and literature:
a) a quick reference to Darwin and tiger mentality
b) someone says, "Patience, Grasshopper."
c) then a drawn-out description of a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean to make the point that a snake will always act like a snake. This could have been better simplified to, "As Jack Sparrow replied to Will Turner when caught cheating at sword fighting, 'Pirate'." My sentence isn't all that good, but the long-winded paragraph is worse.
7) childish descriptions of tactical scenes, and non-professional conversation: "He yanked the gun out of the man's waistband and locked him into an arm hold from behind [this part was fine]. The man was temporarily helpless to fight back, exactly what McAllister was counting on [can't imagine Clancy or Greaney writing that]. Then one of the seriously bad guys whines when caught, "Ok, ok, what are you going to do to me?" These are not lines from good books.
There's more, but this book illustrates the difference between Jack Ryan, Court Gentry, Robin Monarch, etc. and Gordon McAllister.
But, this is a first novel, and you have to congratulate Workman for getting it done. With more practice and better helpers, he should be able to improve.
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