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  • Writer's pictureCaitlyn Lynch

Book Review: Kill Chain by Dominic Martell

The backstory for Kill Chain intrigued me - the author wrote several books about terrorist-turned-informer Pascual Rose in the mid-90s. Years later, he found himself wondering what Pascual would be doing in retirement, in the midst of the digital age, and decided to write another book.

Pascual is doing his best to live as quiet and boring a life as possible in a small Spanish town, working as a document translator - he speaks 6 languages fluently. And then his world is turned on its head when a couple approach him for a job… and leave him no choice but to take it when they threaten his wife and son.

Pascual is an unconventional hero. With a lot of burned bridges in his background, he’s very much reliant on whatever resources he can scrape up, hampered by his inability to use any kind of technology as he knows from the very beginning he’s been hacked. There are a lot of players in this game, and it slowly becomes clear that the amount of money that’s at stake is enough to corrupt even entire governments. Pascual is reliant on his wits and his understanding of basic human nature to figure out just enough leverage to keep himself and those he loves alive.

I read an ARC of this, and there was a really weird glitch in it where chapter 34 was suddenly inserted between chapters 20 and 21, which really disrupted my reading experience (and then accidentally spoilered stuff for me because I read it out of order). I’m going to assume that will be fixed in the final version for publication and rate it accordingly; I am giving this five stars because it’s a really excellent read. It’s not your average action spy thriller because Pascual is very far from the usual hero of those reads, but I was still rooting for him all the way through, still hoping for him to outsmart the bad guys (who were also far from the usual villains).

Readers take note; the word G*psy is used multiple times in this book. While it is used in some places as a slur, I don’t believe it is here, as it is Pascual’s wife Sara who self-describes as such, takes pride in her heritage and uses her familial connections to help them hide from their enemies. The term is proudly used by many people throughout Europe and, I believe, is acceptable as a self-descriptor as it is used here. Nevertheless, if you find the word offensive in any context, you may wish to avoid the read.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via the publisher.

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