Today’s team review is from Jenni. She blogs here https://jenniferdebie.com/
Jenni has been reading Jenks by Barney Burrell.
There is a pantheon of special secret agents who save the world by being special secret agents, and to that illustrious company of Bonds, Bournes and their descendants, Barney Burrell’s debut novel adds Graham “Jenks” Jenkins and frankly, it’s pretty awesome. Perhaps it’s because I just finished a ferociously mediocre novel that fits into roughly the same genre that makes Burrell’s Jenks look so good, but I don’t think that’s the case here.
I think that Burrell has created a genuinely enjoyable thriller.
There’s something compelling to Burrell’s titular character, from his bewitching turquoise eyes (so bright he hides them with colored contact lenses most of the time) to his extreme competence under even the most dire of straits, yes Jenks is an übermensch, but he’s not annoying about it. Perhaps it’s the way he’s introduced to us (inspecting a marble fireplace surround to install in the ongoing renovation project that is his home), or the way he interacts with the barista at his local café, or the delightful twist on an old trope that he uses to get to his target… whatever the reason, Jenks is a keeper of a character.
Add to that a tense, tightly paced, transcontinental story of tradecraft and international information gathering at the highest level, compelling side characters, and some unexpected turns in logic and problem solving, and you’re looking at a seriously fun read. Someone has stolen the kinds of secrets that cause wars and there’s only one man qualified to save the day, it’s a cliché of a setup, but I’m a firm believer that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, and this is one plot that’s far from broken.
This would not be an honest review if I didn’t warn you that Jenks does portray graphic violence, including a prisoner interrogation that is particularly upsetting and has a disturbing conclusion. Trigger warnings abound here, for those of us who like trigger warnings on our literature.
I don’t know if Burrell will take a page out of Flemming and Ludlum’s books and spark an entire series following the further adventures of Jenks (spoilers, the protagonist does survive the end of the novel), or if this is a stand-alone offering, but regardless – this is one deliciously self-indulgent spy thriller you don’t want to miss.
Ruthless freelance professional assassin Jenks is hired by an ultra-top secret government agency – responsible for the dirtiest of work – to kill a rogue CIA analyst and prevent a super Wikileaks-like dissemination of catastrophic above Top Secret explosive revelations, capable of overturning the world order.
Using the most ingenious of spycraft, the chameleon like Jenks has no option but to let the crime play out until the very end. With the action taking place simultaneously between Soho, London and Virginia, USA, Jenks hurtles towards the ultimate confrontation and sacrifice – his pedal to the metal race to uncover the truth will leave you gasping.