Monday, February 28, 2011

Review: Point

Author: Thomas Blackthorne (John Meaney)
Pages: 432 
ISBN: 978 0 85766 078 7
Review based on ARC provided by publisher
Buy it from The Book Depository

What else is there when life has no point? In a Britain on the edge of collapse, the lost teens have formed Cutter Circles, a terrible cult based on mutual suicide. For ex-Special Forces soldier Josh Cumberland, this is just the start of another descent into the very heart of darkness. Savage satire and incredible near-future thrills from the author of "Edge".

I must confess that I have never heard of Thomas Blackthorne before so I didn’t quite know what to expect.  It turns out that Thomas Blackthorne is actually a pseudonym for acclaimed science fiction writer John Meaney.  I’ve been meaning to try some of his work so this would be as good a place to start as any.

I had a few minutes to kill while taking a break from a project and started in on the first few pages.  Before I knew it my quick break had turned into ten minutes of intense reading and by the end of the first chapter I was completely hooked. 

Point is set in Britain sometime in the near future.  It’s a bleak future indeed.  America has degenerated into a rogue state after their fanatical president used nuclear weapons on his own country.  The world is in the grip of winter due to the nuclear induced dust cloud and televised knife fighting has become the nation’s idea of entertainment. 

The novel revolves around two main characters, Josh Cumberland and Dr Suzanne Duchesne.  Josh is an ex-member of an elite Special Forces team, The Ghost Force, which specializes in cyberwarfare and Suzanne is a neuropshych therapist – basically a therapist who makes Jedi mind tricks look tame.

Josh is contracted to find a missing scientist, while Suzanne is recruited by MI5 to investigate the Cutting circle blight that has caused the deaths of hundreds of teenagers.  It soon becomes apparent that there is a connection between the two cases and they have to put a stop to the people responsible, while fighting for their lives.

Point is the sequel to Blackthorne’s previous novel Edge.  Since I haven’t read Edge I was pleased to see that Point does very well as a standalone novel.  At times you do get the vague impression that you are missing out on some of the history between the characters, but it doesn’t detract much from the novel at all.  I’m definitely going to be checking out Edge to see how things started.

The Verdict:
I was thoroughly impressed.  Point is an action packed thriller set in a plausible future world and has it all – lots of fast-paced action, gadgets that would make James Bond green with envy and a main character who can give Jason Bourne a serious run for his money.  Best of all there are ample Star Wars references in the banter between characters – a nice touch for us geeky readers!

The plot keeps you guessing and tearing through the pages at a ferocious pace to find out what happens next.  The action sequences are well thought out and sometimes breathtaking in their brutality.  Josh Cumberland doesn’t take prisoners.  The twist at the end really elevated the novel to another level.

The best way to describe Point is as Tom Clancy’s Net force on steroids with a dash of Jonathan Kellerman’s psychological intrigue thrown in for good measure.  All of which gets combined into a package that makes for a bloody good read!

Click below to read sample chapter:



Rating: 8/10

2 comments:

  1. Ah, you've joined the Robot Army I see :)

    Glad to see you enjoyed this one; Edge has been on my tbr pile for a while, but I was a tad sceptical. From your review it seems like it could be good fun though.

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  2. Ah, you've joined the Robot Army I see :)

    Glad you enjoyed this one. I've had Edge on my tbr pile for a while, but I was a bit sceptical. From your review it sounds like it should be good escapist fun though. This is also the second review I've read that says you can enjoy the second book without reading the first.

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