Terminal Memory by Brian Drake

Terminal Memory by Brian Drake
Publisher: Wolfpack Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Action/Adventure
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Three years after a daring escape from a jihadists’ camp, ex-CIA officer Mara Cole is a target once more. She’s alone, on the run, and in need of a friend.

Sam Raven is tracking Mara’s hunters for a different reason – he’s on a mission of vengeance. A man with dark secrets, bound to Mara by shared history, they join forces to fight back. Together, they play a deadly game of chess through the back alleys of London, to the bright lights of Marseille, and the desert hell of Afghanistan opium fields, risking everything as they move closer to the truth.

With each feign and attack, they find the answers they seek lie deep in Mara’s memories of captivity, torture, and betrayal – secrets to a conspiracy at the heart of the US Intelligence community, and men who will do anything to protect their power.

It’s been more than three years since Sam Raven barely escaped from his final mission with the CIA. His team all went their own way, each of them doing their best to find some measure of peace away from the crazy world they’d known for so long. When Sam is contacted by one of his old teammates and informed that two of their number had died in recent weeks and an attempt had been made on another, Sam knows he needs to discover what is really going on before he’s blindsided.

I’m usually a sucker for spy thrillers, especially with this sort of beginning – an agent who had just barely managed to get out being sucked back into the dangerous life and world they’d escaped. I found this book to be a really good example of that sort of story. The pacing was really good to my mind, a fast and steady clip but not so crazy I couldn’t take in all the details. Sam was a hard but still interesting character, and I enjoyed his character’s voice and perspective. I felt there was a little too much (for my personal tastes) in describing the various guns and weapons that were used, but I totally understand many readers, especially those crossing over from military thrillers or more blokey action orientated genres would find this extra time and descriptions to be a really good thing.

I was pleased that while the level of action and slightly heavy focus on weapons catered to one side of the readership, there was clearly plenty of characterization and an attempt at making Sam’s character relatable and interesting in an emotional way. I found this really helped me connect and respond to him and this really added to my enjoyment of the story itself. The plot was also really well thought out and I felt a lot of more mystery/suspense based readers will find this is what grabs them and keeps them turning the pages.

I really enjoyed the complexity of the plot – while in many ways it seems a re-run of many other stories, I loved how the author managed to make it feel fresh and with the characters and setting it felt interesting and gripping to me, not just another book I’d read various different combinations of many times before.

With a small cast of very interesting and layered characters as well as a gripping and interesting plot this was a really good book, and I am definitely interested in picking up the second in this series.