reviewed by Pam Guynn
Relentless by Jonathan Maberry is the second book in Rogue Team International (RTI) series featuring Joe Ledger. He is no longer with the Department of Military Sciences, but leading a team of independent troubleshooters, Havoc Team that is part of RTI. This is one of the darkest military thrillers that I have read in a long time. Suppose multiple people important to you were murdered. What would that do to your psyche which was already damaged? Read this novel and you will find out how Joe handles the situation.
While this novel focuses on Joe and his dog Ghost, Havoc Team and other colleagues play important roles that give the reader character continuity. The killers are known. The key is how to find them and that journey takes the reader to Europe, Indonesia, South Africa, Antarctica, and North America. Joe is well-developed, compelling, and damaged. His motivation is believable and well-drawn, but I had a hard time with many of his actions in this book. The secondary characters enhance the story and the relationships are believable.
Chapter one hooked me. Chapter two and beyond was so vivid and compelling I felt like I was with the characters, but grateful that I was safe in my home. The story immediately pulls the reader in and never lets him or her off the rollercoaster of action and emotion.
For an action / military thriller/ sc-fi thriller, I loved the style that Maberry used. While there are comprehensive descriptions of clothing, people, places and gear involving black market weapons sales, private military contractors, cybernetics, body armor, chemical enhancements, and bioweapons, it doesn’t go into minute detail. I believe this approach will make this novel appeal to a wider audience.
Overall, this novel is a shockingly dark, disturbing, and emotional ride. Be aware that there is plenty of violence and emotional turmoil in this story. An old arch-enemy reappears as well setting up possible threads in future novels. Themes include revenge, anger, grief, murder, PTSD, greed, good versus evil, cyber terrorism, and cyber espionage as well as friendship, love, compassion, honesty, loyalty, and brotherhood/sisterhood relationships.
This is the only the third book that I have read by this author but I am looking forward to the next book in the series as well as going back and reading the original Joe Ledger series. This author’s books are well-written with characters that have depth and there is an interesting plot where the story line pulls the reader in immediately. I believe those readers that enjoy action thrillers and military thrillers that are dark will want to read this book.
St. Martin’s Press – St. Martin’s Griffin and Jonathan Maberry provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via Net Galley. This is my honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way. Publication date is currently set for July 13, 2021.