After a few weeks of “experimental” reading excursions, meaning “new to me writers”, I returned to one of my tried and true authors, BRAD THOR. Book number 20 in his Scot Harvath series is NEAR DARK. What a terrific writer of spy thrillers! Thanks for the great entertainment.
In this story, which picks up right after book 19 (BACKLASH), Scot is suffering from a horrific personal loss. He has retreated to a luxury resort near Key West in southern Florida in the United States. He is drinking alcoholic beverages like there is no tomorrow. That is no exaggeration. If you read BACKLASH, you can understand his mental state. If you have not read the previous story, you probably should do so before you start this one.
Harvath works for a private intelligence gathering company after many years of government employment including the U.S. Navy SEALS, the U.S. Secret Service and the C.I.A. As the story unfolds, Scot is drinking in a dive bar in Key West when two bums start to harass the female bartender. That action upsets Scot and he invites them “to step outside” with him. They do. A fight breaks out. A third man shows up with a gun and is about to shoot Harvath. A shot rings out. The would be gunman collapses. Dead. Scot’s team of Haney, Staelin, Palmer and Ashby have come to the rescue. They are there because it has come to his company’s attention that a contract for $100 million has been issued for Harvath’s death.
His team also informs Scot that his good friend Carl Pedersen of the Norwegian Intelligence Service (NIS) has been tortured and killed. Carl had worked with Scot on a couple of cases. This is another blow to his collapsing psyche. Scot flies to Norway on a company jet where he meets Solvi Kostad an N.I.S. officer who was also close to Pedersen. The two team up together to find out who tortured/killed Carl and to find out who is trying to kill Scot.
There are plenty of suspects including Filip Landsbergis, a high-ranking member of Lithuania’s State Security Department (VSI), who has also worked with Scot. Nikolai Nekrasov is a billionaire Russian oligarch who lives in southern France near Nice who has a grudge against Harvath. Andriejus Simulik head of VIS is another suspect. Paul Aubertin, born Michael Collins McElhone in Ireland, is a former French Foreign Legion operative, and is now a paid assassin.
As mentioned earlier Harvath’s journey takes him to Key West and then to Boston, Oslo, Lake Garda (Italy), Lithuania and Mont St. Michel near Normandy (France). As typical of Brad Thor stories, there is plenty of action with a hint of romance. The book is fast paced and should be a quick read for most readers. This a perfect read for those people who have quarantined themselves during COVID 19 Pandemic. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
GO! BUY! READ!