📚’High-speed #thriller’. Terry Reviews El Norte by Harald Johnson, For Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #BookTwitter

Today’s team review is from Terry.

Terry blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.com/

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Terry has been reading El Norte by Harald Johnson

3.5 out of 5 stars

Never a dull moment in this high-speed thriller starring Jager Flores, an eighteen-year-old who goes on holiday with his family (mother, father, sister) to a Honduran island, and ends up on a white-knuckle-ride of a journey north, to the US. Jager knows his father is involved with some dodgy people, but does not know to what extent. He travels with Flea, a former gangster who wants to disappear.

It’s clear that the author has spent much time researching every aspect to do with how migrants sneak into the US; the local culture and jargon is convincing, throughout. I was fascinated to read about ‘La Bestia’, also known as ‘El Tren de la Muerte (The Train of Death), the freight train used for the purpose of getting across Mexico for those who can’t afford a smuggler.

This is a well plotted, suspense-filled and unpredictable novel, as every good action thriller should be – the story is well put together, and definitely plot- rather than character-driven, though Flea and his gang at the beginning were very well drawn, I thought.

I love on-the-run stories, generally, but unfortunately this didn’t quite hit the spot. The reason for this was that I couldn’t ‘see’ Jager; he was never more than a name on a page. He is a schoolboy whose parents have seen fit to send him to a therapist and get him hooked on diazepam (Valium) because his personality is of introverted type and he suffers from ‘social anxiety’; this apparently means he needs to be dosed up with strong, highly addictive medication. However, within a couple of days of shocking, tragic events that give birth to his perilous journey, he throws away his pills and starts facing down gangsters, thinking on his feet in the manner of Jack Bauer, and becoming the de facto leader of small parties of South American undocumented immigrants. I get that dire circumstances can bring out a side of a person that they didn’t know existed, but it usually takes more than a matter of days. I’m afraid I couldn’t suspend my disbelief.

Another detail that grated was this: Jager’s gangster father kept a top secret, wildly important document containing certain names, that must not fall into the wrong hands … on a Google doc. Surely a hacker of the type that exist these days would be able to hack into such a document within minutes?

To sum up, the story has a lot going for it, especially if you like non-stop action, but it didn’t really work for me for the reasons stated. Which is a shame, because I like this author’s historical and time travel fiction very much.

Orange rose book description
Book description

A thrilling, on-the-run, survival adventure across four countries.

Jager Flores is an introverted Texas high-school graduate on a family trip to Roatán, Honduras, to celebrate.

But when Jager’s careful world is blown apart, the panicked boy goes into hiding and then creates a bond with an unlikely ally to stay one step ahead of his violent pursuers.

Now, traveling with a team of immigrants and with corrupt DEA agents after him as he heads back to El Norte (the U.S.), Jager must find the strength in himself to survive and to get justice for his family.

If you’re a fan of the suspense thriller novels of Lee Child, David Baldacci, or Dan Brown, you’ll relish this fast-moving, action-packed story from TV/movie-optioned author Harald Johnson.

“Now, we both hunted.”

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

6 thoughts on “📚’High-speed #thriller’. Terry Reviews El Norte by Harald Johnson, For Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #BookTwitter

  1. I had some of the same issues, Terry. It reads like a classic YA story, with the focus on the plot and the adventures. I haven’t read any of the author’s previous books, but I know many members of the team were really impressed, and I enjoyed this story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • His Neanderthal time time travel series is pretty fab, Olga, and I liked his other one about the subjugation of the Native Americans in the 17th Century, too. This felt as though it was written by a different author; I didn’t recognise his style at all.

      Liked by 1 person

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