Leo J. Maloney
reviewed by Pam Guynn
Hard Target by Leo J. Maloney is intriguing and suspenseful; a novella you can’t put down. It brings almost non-stop action to the first book in a new spin-off series featuring Alex Morgan, the daughter of Dan Morgan.
When reports of a terrorist attack in Chicago during the Vice President’s speech are received, the NSA pulls in the covert agency Zeta to help along with the F.B.I., Secret Service, and state and local police. Alex leads the Zeta tactical team, but when things go awry, she becomes a primary suspect. What follows is a cross-country journey to stop another attack and clear her name. There is a lot packed into this novella.
Due to the shortness of the story and the prolific action, there is limited character growth. However, the reader does get a look at Alex’s intelligence, her fighting capability, one of her interests outside of work, and how she goes about making friends. She is definitely memorable and she came to life for me as the story progressed. She felt multidimensional.
The author does a great job of world-building. I was able to easily visualize the settings whether it was Illinois or Nevada or someplace in between. The prose is well-written, skilled, and proficient. There are sub-plots to the story which tie together well. While the main ones are resolved, there are threads that can be pulled in the next book in the series. Themes include trust, teamwork, friendship, and terrorism, as well as interagency rivalries. With an action political thriller such as this one, the reader normally has to be able to suspend belief. Despite this, the author’s own black ops experience made the action and story line seem very real. It added authenticity and depth that many lack. The plot was clever, intense, and impactful.
Overall, this book was fast-paced, action-oriented, and very entertaining. The high stakes made it a page turner. It is best read in one sitting. Once I started it, I couldn’t stop until I reached the end. The story line felt fresh and certainly delivered on the promise of its opening scenes. If you enjoy action thrillers or political thrillers that have a strong female character, then this may be the series for you. Those that enjoy riding motorcycles may also enjoy this novella. I can’t wait to find out what is next for Alex. I also want to read the series featuring her father.
Kensington Books and Leo J. Maloney provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. This is my honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way. Publication date is currently set for May 25, 2021.