A Book Spy Review: ‘Killer Thriller’ by Lee Goldberg

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Killer thrillerLast time around, bestselling author Ian Ludlow saw one of his thrillers play out in real time while racing to stop it. This time, he finds himself trapped in a book he’s currently writing. 

Ludlow, one of the most beloved writers around, is known for his headline-beating action thrillers starring larger-than-life operative Clint Straker. In fact, his stuff has such a tendency to come true that the CIA has taken notice. So too have other foreign intelligence services, who don’t necessarily believe the author is simply lucky with his details, but rather acting as a foreign asset for the United States. 

After sidestepping an offer to think up attack scenarios for the American government (much like the Department of Homeland Security’s Analytical Red Cell program, which included real authors such as Brad Thor), Ludlow heads over to Hong Kong to visit the set of a movie based on one of his novels, only to find that the script has been carved up by those overseeing the project. While he’s worried about that, Chinese intelligence officers take an interest in Ludlow, who is also researching a new story that he’s determined to make his most outlandish, globe-trotting, high-stakes thriller yet. 

But unbeknownst to him, Ludlow’s tendency for predicting the future once again holds true, as his story begins actually playing out behind the scenes without him having any clue. And when the Chinese try to assassinate him and fail, Ludlow suddenly finds himself trapped in another action-packed adventure . . . only this time, he doesn’t know the ending ahead of time. 

Goldberg’s story is meant to be over the top, and he lays it on fairly thick once again with a number of cliches and references that fans of the genre will recognize and eat up in a hurry. The ironic part is that, like Ludlow’s book, Goldberg’s is meant to be overkill, and yet his writing style and approach make for a really addictive reading experience. Moreover, the tongue-in-cheek references (which are perfectly timed) are held, for the most part, in check. So while it’s a spoof of sorts and not meant to be too serious, Goldberg still managed to churn out a solid thriller that moves fast and is tons of fun.

It’s rare for a sequel to be better than the original, but Lee Goldberg’s Killer Thriller takes Ian Ludlow to new heights while leaving the door open for an anticipated third novel. Diehard fans of the genre should definitely check this one out. 

Book Details

Author: Lee Goldberg
Series: Ian Ludlow #2
Pages: 288 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1503903567
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer 
Release Date: February 12, 2019
Book Spy Rating: 6.5/10

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Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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