A Book Spy Review: ‘Red Right Hand’ by Chris Holm

51jC4-BauvL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_When a family stops near the Golden Gate Bridge to record a special anniversary message at the very spot their grandparents once posed for a photo nearly forty years ago, things take a tragic turn as a tugboat carrying explosives slams into the bridge, detonating on impact.

In the aftermath of the explosion, FBI special agent Charlie Thompson is called back into work, cutting short a trip home where she planned to introduce her family to Kate O’Brien, director of the FBI’s CID. It was the first time Thompson brought a woman home with her since coming out to her disapproving parents, and the two exited quickly to FBI’s New Haven, Connecticut field office, but not before things reached a boiling point with Charlie’s father.

Upon seeing the family’s recorded footage of the moments just before the explosion, Thompson makes a startling discovery. Frank Segreti’s face was captured on the video, signaling that he’s apparently alive and well, which is a shock to the FBI, as they previously thought him to be dead.

Seven years prior, Frank Segreti came to the FBI offering key evidence about a shady organization comprised of different crime leaders, known only as the Council. In return for his betrayal, the Council hired someone to take him out. Until now, Segreti was believed to have been killed in an explosion.

Thompson hopes that Segreti can once again help lead her to the Council, but keeping him alive–especially once Council members find out he’s still breathing–poses a real problem. Thinking outside of the box, she turns to another man wanted by the FBI, hitman Michael Hendricks, to keep Segreti safe.

Hendricks is an assassin who lives by his own code, which is to only kill other assassins. A few years ago, the Council sent someone after Hendricks. Instead, it was his best friend who ended up in the ground, with Hendricks swearing to avenge his death at all costs.

Since then, the Council has sent numerous hitmen after Hendricks. All have failed. In response, Hendricks has pledged to burn the Council to the ground, a mission that he’s actively working towards when Thompson tabs him to make his way to San Francisco and find Frank Segreti.

The author weaves in Hendricks’ mission with Thompson’s investigation into the terrorist group who took credit for the Golden Gate Bridge bombing. Not only did this lesser-known group of Syrian-based terrorists send their video message to the media, but in doing so, they warn that the bridge bombing was just the beginning. 

With more attacks planned to follow, Thompson must find a way to stop any further bloodshed on American soil.  While initially working under the assumption that Hendricks’ mission to secure and protect Frank Segreti was a separate matter altogether, she’ll soon find out that things are far more connected that she ever could have imagined.

Red Right Hand has a tight, straightforward plot that follows a terrific antihero who shoots first and asks questions later. 

My Thoughts

Chris Holm’s The Killing Kind (2015) wasn’t bad, but this is a big leap forward. If you’re a fan of Mark Greaney’s Gray Man series or Tom Wood’s Victor the Assassin, you’ll love Michael Hendricks.

This book is perfect for readers in search of a high-octane, action-packed thriller set inside the United States. By using Middle-Eastern terrorists other than ISIS, Holm provides a fresh take that gives Red Right Hand a slightly different flavor than other political thrillers hitting bookstores this year. 

Think of this book as a cross between the popcorn flick Vantage Point and the hit television show Dexter, but with its own unique twists and turns. The Council is a really cool collection of bad guys, and I found them thoroughly entertaining and properly hateable. 

For a thriller that was no doubt written to get your heart pumping, there’s a good amount of character development. That surprised me, as Holm skillfully weaves in characters’ side stories with the central plot. Not only does it work really well, but it adds another emotional layer to the overall impact of the book. 

Book Details

Author: Chris Holm

Pages: 352 (Hardcover)

Publisher: Mulholland Books

Release Date: September 13, 2016 (Order now!)

 

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