2008
11.12

Having become a bit jaded after reading McNab’s entire output, I expected little from Brute Force.  I reckoned it would be more of the same and less of the good stuff.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. 

Brute Force is right up there with Remote Control and Firewall, a return to what I’ve considered McNab’s strong point–using “normal” characters (as opposed to SAS commandos) to bring us into the action from our point of view while also showing Nick Stone’s concern for the people around him.

The novel has everything that makes us love McNab — the humour, the fast pace, and the exotic locations painted so clearly the book could serve as a travel guide. It also provides something that I for one have been missing with his last few — realistic details of tactical and operational methods. If you’ve been wondering how to craft a nice shaped-charge to blow a hole in a boat’s hull, Brute Force is for you.

The only criticism I have is minor. At one point in the book, McNab points out that the truck he’s driving is an automatic, allowing him to ram through a checkpoint if necessary without taking his hands off the wheel. A mere three or four pages later, the same vehicle becomes a standard shift, and he’s working the clutch like a madman. It reminds me of Dark Winter, where Sundance or Trainers (can’t remember which one) wields a revolver with a suppressor attached. You would think Mr. “Attention to detail, check and re-check,” having spent his life around weapons, would realize that attaching a suppressor to a revolver wouldn’t accomplish much (the gasses escape through the cylinder), just as you’d think a motor enthusiast would mind the difference between a standard and an automatic transmission. But that’s where I think the editors come in.

I don’t think he has a “ghost writer” in the traditional sense, but I think these two examples alone show other hands at work. And really, Andy doesn’t need them.

His own voice comes through so clearly in Brute Force and his other greats, it makes me wish he will one day send his editors the way of the Yes Man.

Jon

PS: Brute Force is in the Sunday Times Bestseller list this week at number 6

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