HELL'S FURY - P D Martin

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

Being a bit of a fan of thriller's, I was very intrigued by PD Martin's HELL'S FURY. Not just because it has a central female protagonist, and there simply aren't enough good, strong female characters in thriller fiction (particularly spy or military style thrillers), but also because there's a very current story thread at the central core - a CIA operative captured by the Taliban, disowned by the CIA, saved with a price to pay for that rescue.

I was possibly less intrigued by the concept of "The Committee", being somewhat twitchy about mercenary, outside the law, retribution based story lines. A personal prejudice made somewhat more edgy by the sex trafficking of young children story line, which to be frank, I was a bit twitchy could possibly been seen as a good justification for mercenary activities. HELL'S FURY, however, neatly avoids the traps of those threads, partially because Martin has created some complex backgrounds for her main characters, fudging a lot of the black and white, and partially because "The Committee" aspects are very much in the background.

It also does not hurt one little bit that this is a very fast paced, action packed book, with character depth and a strong, believable female lead who isn't just an energiser bunny. The post-traumatic stress that she is dealing with on a daily basis as a result of her capture and torture by the Taliban creates an interesting arena for Martin to play with. Rather than the dreaded fem-jep scenario, what we sometimes have here is a woman who has to deal with flashbacks, lost moments, recall that impacts at the worst possible times, that doesn't necessarily place her completely in jeopardy, but is something that she has to be aware of, take into account.

All of the operatives actions are supported by a lot of high-tech wizardry, all of which was used with great effect, and came across as very plausible and realistic. There's also some excellent dialogue and interaction between characters, and some nice touches of empathy and genuine compassion. The action mostly takes part in the US, and the book has probably been styled (grammar / spelling etc) with that marketplace in mind, but there should be no concern for readers from any part of the world feeling displaced. Best of all HELL'S FURY seems to be hinting at the possibility of an ongoing series, which I for one am rather hopeful is the case. There's nothing I like more than a personal prejudice being given a bit of a going over by a book like HELL'S FURY.

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She lies in an Afghani prison cell, disowned by the CIA and regularly tortured. Seven months into her prison term, a lone operator stages a daring extraction. But who is Decker, the mysterious man behind her rescue?

He claims to represent The Committee, an international group made up of ex-professionals from the CIA, FBI, Interpol, MI5, Scotland Yard, Mossad and ASIS; a private organization that serves and protects where the current intelligence or justice agencies fall short.

Decker also claims to know her long-dead father, and brings to the table an offer she can’t refuse; “Go on one mission, and I’ll tell you about your father’s secret life.”

Her assignment: John Hope. Her orders: kill him.

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