Author: Mark Dawson
My rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Release date: Feb. 7, 2017
John Milton – the former MI6 operative with a harrowing backstory and flatlined EQ score – travels to the Philippines in “Blackout,” the 10th in author Mark Dawson’s thriller series. (I would say spy thriller, except Milton does virtually no spying here, though he does put his assassin’s skill set to use on several occasions.)
I’m a fan of the genre and of the series, and we’re at the point where Milton deserves to be elevated to the same lofty plane as Jack Reacher and George Smiley.
In “Blackout,” it’s not giving too much to say that Milton is lured to the Philippines under false pretenses and quickly finds himself imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. The novel goes into great depth probing the physical abuse that other prisoners inflict on Milton while rotating the point of view with an upright policewoman who defies her superiors’ orders to just forget about the case and let Milton get framed.
The second half of the book in particular is fast-paced and quickens your pulse as you worry about Milton’s threshold of physical pain, the large network of forces arrayed against him and the police officer’s grappling with doing the right thing at the expense of her family’s safety.
This pacing and characterization are first rate, the plot unfolds logically, the setting is intriguing, and there are a few fun technical hacks pulled off along the way. In short, this is the most polished and gripping work in a series that already exceeds the high standards of the spy thriller genre.