A Book Spy Review: ‘Cold Fear’ by Brandon Webb & John David Mann


Former Navy SEAL Finn, one of the thriller genre’s brightest new stars, returns for another action-packed adventure in the latest must-read novel from New York Times bestselling co-authors Brandon Webb and John David Mann.

Following the events of last year’s Steel Fear (2021), Finn, the former SEAL who now finds himself on the run, lands in Iceland. Disgraced from the career he once loved, Finn is wanted in connection to a series of war crimes committed in Yemen, where his SEAL team was once stationed. Somehow, members of his old unit are involved, but for Finn, the whole operation is a mystery—a night he can’t seem to remember. So too is the fate of Lieutenant Kennedy, one of his closest friends.

Looking for answers, Finn sets up shop in Iceland, where a few of his old comrades are now stationed. What he doesn’t count on, however, is a crazed assassin—a man he has some history with—chasing after him, determined to take Finn out on behalf of an anonymous employer. Things take another turn when a separate thread involving a woman found frozen to death in a Reykjavík lake weaves itself into Finn’s quest to discover the truth once and for all . . . setting up a blistering final act that’s impossible to put down.

Webb and Mann entering the fiction waters, after dominating the New York Times nonfiction list for years, was big news in 2021. This year, the duo proves to have serious staying power. With a second hit on their hands, readers have yet another newcomer on par with Jack Carr’s James Reece and Don Bentley’s Matt Drake, though Finn might best be described as a cross between Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne. Another star-in-the-making is a good thing for the genre as a whole, especially when other thriller darlings—like Mitch Rapp and Scot Harvath—have been around for almost two decades. Readers intimidated by such heavy backlists should look to this series, now two books in, as something fresh to jump into and get caught up before book three arrives sometime this year.

Action (which is explosive and expertly crafted) aside, it’s the superb character development that makes this book work so well. Yes, Finn is the undisputed star, but a local detective proves to be a solid addition to the cast, stealing every scene she’s in. The villains are well fleshed out too, with the backstory between Finn and the assassin chasing him adding to the overall tension of the cat-and-mouse plot. Bottom line: falling somewhere between a crime and an action thriller, everything here works perfectly together to create a reading experience unlike anything else on store shelves right now.

Fast, unflinching, and full of surprises, Brandon Webb and John David Mann deliver a hybrid novel that’ll satisfy both crime aficionados and action lovers . . . making Cold Fear one of this summer’s must-read thrillers.

Book Details

Author: Brandwon Webb & John David Mann
Pages: 432 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0593356314
Publisher: Bantum
Release Date: June 7, 2022
Real Book Spy Rating: 8.0/10



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 co-hosts the ThrillerTalk podcast when he’s not streaming and hanging out with his growing community on Twitch. His debut thriller, FIELDS OF FIRE, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Jack Carr says “will leave you speechless and begging for more,” comes out on September 6, 2022. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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