I picked this book up simply because I could not find anything else to buy in the bookstore. The circumstances being such, I thought I should try reading something from a totally different genre. Forget the soapy stuff that Oprah would recommend, I walked over to the series of Action Adventure Thriller books and again, based purely on the cover, picked up Crossfire by Andy McNab. Guns. Terrorists. Mayhem. Simple enough, I thought – not too much thinking involved. A quick one before I launch into another deep novel.

It took me another 2 weeks before I actually came around to reading it. Ploughing through the thick My Little Friend, by Donna Tartt left me exhausted and I ended up watching a lot of television after that.

Crossfire features the lead hero, Nick Stone – a former SAS soldier now freelancing as a security contractor, providing bodyguard services to various news agencies (or anyone for that matter who pays) operating in the Middle East, specifically Iraq and Afghanistan. Stone is also a “K” – an agent working for the British intelligent services on ‘deniable’ operations. This is the first McNab book I’ve read and I understand that the character Nick Stone features in all his books as the central lead.

The plot is simple enough. Stone is protecting a reporter and his cameraman on the streets of wartorn Basra, Iraq. During an insurgent attack, Stone is knocked unconscious but is saved by the cameraman. Shortly after, he discovers that the cameraman is dead and the reporter, Dom – missing. Presumably kidnapped and held for ransom. What follows next is a fast paced adventure to London, Dublin and Kabul with lots of violence and action as Stone is ordered by the Intelligence Service to locate the whereabouts of Dom.

I didn’t think I’d come to this conclusion but I have to say that I enjoyed the book. I enjoyed the killing and the fighting and never ever thought I could be so immersed in a gunfight scene purely based on written words – to the extent that my eyeballs felt like they were pulsating as they raced from one word to the next.

The dialogues are witty and quick. The action unforgettable – almost a learning experience as Stone gives pointers on how to sneak into a building, introduces and explains various weapons and my favourite, making a home-made taser using forks, a broom handle and a wall circuit point.

Now, I’m on the look out for Bravo Two Zero, another bestseller by McNab based on his true account of a mission inside Iraq with the SAS. Thanks to this book, I’ll never look at this genre quite the same way I used to.

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