Featured Review: ‘The Outside Man’ by Don Bentley


The Devil has no idea what’s coming for him.

Back in Austin, Texas after reconnecting with his wife, DIA operative Matt Drake gets a brutal homecoming when a team of assassins attempts to take him out in broad daylight. For Drake, who still suffers from PTSD and is in some ways still searching for a purpose outside of the violent life he was once forced to live, the attack is a reminder that no matter how hard he tries—he may never fully part from his past.

Then again, for others, the attack—more specifically, how he handles himself once the bullets start flying—serves as a reminder that Matt Drake is one of the most dangerous operators on the planet. The question is, who was behind the ambush, and why are they coming for the DIA man now?

As Drake tears through his own recent history, trying to figure out who might want him dead, he sets his sights on a ruthless terrorist known only as the Devil. The evil Arab man, who dabbles in everything from drugs to sex trafficking, crossed paths with Drake before and had a hand in the events of Dentley’s last book, Without Sanction. As the two square of for round two, though, things have changed for Drake, who now has more to lose—and therefore more reasons to fight.

Vowing to put the Devil down once and for all, Matt Drake must live through hell long enough to defeat an impossible foe who always seems to be several moves ahead if he’s going to burn the man’s evil empire down around him. But as lines blur and conspiracies emerge, Drake soon realizes that not everything is quite what it seems, and cheating death a second time will be much harder than he ever imagined.

After bursting onto the thriller scene in 2020 with his year’s-best debut, Don Bentley avoids the dreaded “sophomore slump” by delivering another super-charged, action-packed adventure that’s tailor-made for fans of Mark Greaney and Brad Tayor. The action, which is some of the best in the genre, remains a top selling point for this series, but even greater than his ability to churn out shoot-’em-up sequences is Bentley’s ability to capture and drive emotion into his stories. Drake, a damaged and searching soul, embodies brokenness in a way that’s both relatable and endearing. However, rather than give up, Drake fights back—a trait most readers will champion after a tough year in 2020. It’s those characteristics, specifically, the depth that he brings to his hero, that makes Bentley’s star shine so bright this early in his career, and he continues to be a name to watch closely moving forward into 2022 and beyond.

Gritty, timely, and packed with nonstop, heart-thumping action, Don Bentley’s The Outside Man is a must-read for fans of propulsive, unputdownable thrillers.

Book Details

Author: Done Bentley
Series: Matt Drake #2
Pages: 400 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1984805142
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: March 2, 2021
Real Book Spy Rating: 8.5/10



Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Ryan Steck 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. Additionally, he co-hosts ThrillerTalk, a new podcast with K.J. Howe. 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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