This is a direct continuation of Target Omega (A Mike Garin Thriller), the author's first book, so it will be helpful but not necessary to read that one first. American operator Mike Garin returns to once more face off against Russian super spy Taras Bor across the United States, against the backdrop of a realistic and original threat to the US. The characters are all uniuqe, colorful, and over the top: Mike Garin's family's Russian background sets him apart from all the Mitch Rapp-type copycat characters, and Taras Bor is menacing, lethal, intelligent, and one of the most memorable antagonists in the genre. The action is fast and cinematic. The violence is brutal, with a very unpleasant torture scene. Above average writing that is direct, crisp, and articulate. No apparent research or technical mistakes, and the author is clearly very knowledgeable about Russia. An entertaining book for anyone who enjoys this genre, and I'm looking forward to number three.
This book is legit! It is tense as hell and reads lightning fast. I honest to God read this book inside of two days. It is that captivating. Mike Garin is the hero this genre needs and reading about him his a lot of fun. Mr. Kirsanow did a better job with this novel in making Garin less invincible and more prone to mistakes. I loved the character development, and the portrayal of Garin’s psyche. I was hoping for more of a romance between he and Olivia, bc the sexual tension between them in the first book was off the chart, but I’m hoping, really hoping, the author goes in that direction in the third book. Two books in and the characters are all very well developed, the relationships are clear, and the pacing is top notch. I can’t wait for the next installment and I sincerely hope this series continues. When Mark Greaney personally told me to read Target Omega last year I jumped at the chance. And I’m grateful he gave me the recommendation.
I gave it 3 stars simply for one reason. The book was great to read and a great follow up to the first novel. Here is my problem. There is no finality! Too many loose ends! When I read a thriller, I like to see the beginning, middle and especially the END! This book (and the first) have no finality and leave you hanging. Unlike, say, Vince Flynn, whose books (for the most part) have a definite ending, even though they continue with many of the same characters throughout most of his novels, these books seem to entice you with dangling a carrot in front of you for the next novel in line. What of the mole in Dan Dwyer's organization? What's buried in the countryside? What of the patrician? The book(s) left me unfulfilled and I probably won't purchase the next one... just as I won't watch soap operas or Game of Thrones.... The caveat is that this is my own opinion and no one else.
This book is your garden variety Jason Bourne type thriller. As pertains to this genre, I found “Second Strike” to be quite unexceptional. There is a super-hero with two or three steadfast assistants, as exist in all of these types of thriller novels. No one knows what the next steps should be in vanquishing the problem or enemy except our protagonist. Still, the book is well-written with some lively action, though sprinkled with a few too many pages of boredom, as the reader waits for the next dilemma that will befall our hero. The book’s protagonist emulates other thriller writer authors like Vince Flynn, Ian Fleming, John Gilstrap, Mark Dawson, Mark Greaney, and Max Allen Collins (“Quarry” novels).
The backstory in “Second Strike” borrows from today’s headlines in the rather trite and mostly over-sensationalized Russia/Iran threats to the United States. Also, the EMP threat mentioned in the book has also been spun into a dire, catastrophic threat to America which, we're finding, may not be at all significant in its destructive consequences.
I don’t know, maybe it was the backstory that I find mostly fiction or perhaps I’m just tired of reading about these super-hero guys who save the country. Other writers also employ a sort of super-hero, like Lee Child with his Jack Reacher, but these authors always have a unique and original backstory. I rate the book a 3 for decent writing and for effort.
Peter Kirsanow succeeds at the most difficult challenge for a new writer: equalling a successful first novel. His sequel to Target Omega picks up the story of super human Michael Garin (disconcerting to see my own name on every other page) two months after the first book ends. Happily, readers can look forward to a volume three. I can't wait.