7.13.2014

THE SUNDAY REVIEW: DEADFALL - CHRIS RYAN


Zak Darke is sent on what seems like a straightforward surveillance op in South Africa but it soon turns into the toughest, most dangerous mission he has ever faced. An old enemy has teamed up with a terrifying gang of child soldiers and Zak is caught in the middle. Having travelled to the heart of the African jungle, will he make it out alive . . . ? - Goodreads

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This book is the latest in Chris Ryan's Agent 21 series, about a teenager who is recruited to a black ops team of super-spies who perform reconnaissance missions in some pretty dangerous and heart-poundingly stressful situations.

In this, the fourth book, Zak Darke and his "guardian angels," the senior agents (and his training officers) Raf and Gabs, find themselves tracking an old enemy who is up to no good in Africa. The story starts with some surveillance in Johannesburg, but soon draws the three agents - along with an unexpected additional team member - across the continent and into the jungles of Senegal.

I don't want to say too much, for fear of giving away the plot. Suffice it to say that they encounter an army of disfigured and cruel child soldiers, a massive, multi-million dollar drug operation, a work camp that resembles a prison and a coup to overthrow a the government of The Gambia.

And that's not all - their journey through the forest will pit them against some of the most terrifying inhabitants of the natural world. Everything from leeches to poisonous snakes to wildcats make it a harrowing journey.

As usual, this book delivers on the action. It starts just a few pages in and the pace doesn't let up until the last page. The now-familiar characters are easy to get into, and Ryan's trademark writing style blends edge-of-your seat suspense with impeccable knowledge of combat strategy and survival techniques that make it as realistic as it is thrilling.

Of the four books in the series so far, this was probably my second favourite after Agent 21: Codebreaker. I found the plot had less holes than Agent 21: Reloaded, which was a relief. The return to the African continent had me a little ambivalent.

If you enjoy young adult thrillers, this will be right up your alley.

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Book Title: Deadfall: Agent 21
Author: Chris Ryan
Series: Agent 21 #4
Edition: Paperback
Published By: Red Fox
Released: 2014
Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult
Pages: 338
Date Read: May 30-June 1, 2014
Rating: 7/10

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