reviewed by Pam Guynn
Steven Konkoly brings together diverse characters and an alarming scenario like few authors can. His third book in the Devin Gray series, Wide Awake, kept me reading late into the night. Devin Gray and Marnie Young are trying to return to a normal life after taking out a sleeper network. However, violence and a potential for another sleeper network has them back at work. A plan to start a civil war in the United States is underway. Threats and violence escalate. Who is behind it and can it be stopped?
As always, this author brings characters to life, especially Devin and Marnie. They’re intelligent, patriotic, self-confident, strong, and bold. However, they also have some shortcomings that readers find as the story progresses and their natures and backstories become known to readers. It was also great to visit with old friends from the Black Flagged series.
The initial chapters introduce the various characters and situations from a border patrol incident to the protagonists to various antagonists and supporting characters. However, it took a while to determine how everyone fits into the story, which takes readers from Washington DC to multiple US states to a foreign country. This novel kept me captivated from the first page to its astonishing conclusion.
Konkoly is an outstanding storyteller who kept me on the edge of my seat with gripping scenes, action, a superb plot, and fantastic writing. His military background brings an authenticity to his thrillers. He does a great job of balancing the shocking action scenes against the intrigue of the conspiracy plot and the planning of countermeasures. The dynamic plot came alive and felt all too possible with real-world issues incorporated into the story highlighting the societal and political differences between individuals and countries.
Plenty of suspense, a constant sense of urgency, a state of disquietude, and lots of action combined with great characters and a well-written plot make this novel a must read for those who enjoy thrillers. Themes include conspiracy, violence, differing political and social ideologies, duty, leadership, organization, and coordination.
Overall, this was a gripping, gritty, and chilling story with complex characters. It’s intense and dramatic and kept this reader turning the pages. It’s also my favorite of the series. I would recommend it to those who enjoy political and military thrillers. This book works well as a standalone novel. However, the background and relationship dynamics are best fully understood by reading earlier novels in the series.
Thomas and Mercer and Steven Konkoly provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. Publication date is currently set for August 15, 2023.
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