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Kat’s Review of Black List by Will Jordan (Ryan Drake #4)

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Synopsis: With no money, no prospects and a long list of computer crimes against his name, Alex Yates's life is going nowhere until he is given a lucrative but dangerous offer - £100,000 to hack into the Central Intelligence Agency's network and recover a file known only as the Black List. At first reluctant to get involved, the disappearance of an old friend leaves Alex with no choice but to return to a world he'd sworn to leave behind. But before he can unlock the secrets contained within the file, he suddenly finds himself the target of a nationwide manhunt. Someone wants him out of the picture fast.

Now plunged into a deadly race against time to recover the Black List, and hunted by police, intelligence operatives and a ruthless covert unit dispatched to take him down, Alex is left with no choice but to accept help from the violent and unpredictable woman who hired him. For in the Black List may lie his salvation, or his death...

My Rating: 4/5

My Review: I have never read any Will Jordan but have to admit the synopsis sounded interesting. I got stuck into this and quickly found it’s one of those books you don’t really want to put down. It’s a bit like one of those films, where you are worried to put the kettle on in case you miss the best bit! The only criticism I have after reading the book and looking at the other books is that the book says on Amazon that it’s a ‘Ryan Drake’ book. It seems that Will Jordan has written 3 books in the Ryan Drake series and allegedly this is the forth. I have to disagree and say that is a total ploy. Ryan Drake does not feature in the book AT ALL, and is mentioned in the final chapter only. This is a major ‘no-no’ in my book, as if I was following a series and read this book I would feel a little cheated. Okay that negative out the way on to the book itself.

Alex Yates is the lead character and he is so ordinary it’s ridiculous. He works in a dead end job and doesn’t have a lot to show for himself. However, as you read on it soon becomes clear that Alex has paid a high price for his skill…’hacking’. After a year in prison, he is made an offer of £100k to hack into the CIA’s systems to retrieve the ‘Black List’. This all happens within the first few chapters and I have to say it certainly draws you in. This has a high octane feel to it and as soon as you realise Alex has no choice but to take the offer things get even more frenetic.

What follows is Alex being helped by Anya, the woman who hired him. Anya is an interesting character, but it’s clear from the outset that she is a ruthless and violent soldier. The story picks up pace until the very last page and to be honest, although the ending may have been what I expected, the journey there was very exciting to read. There is loads of action and things take place that are far from Alex normal and mundane life. Don’t get me wrong, this borders on the far side of the believable, but frankly I don’t care. Simon Kernick writes in a similar way and I always enjoy those books.

What I will say is although it may be a tad unbelievable and a little predictable it’s a solid and fast paced thriller which will keep you highly entertained from start to finish. I would certainly read more by this author and may well look into the Ryan Drake books now. This would make a great holiday read and I would definitely recommend it! 

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