Thor may be the god of thunder, but Brad Thor is the master of
thrillers. Thor --- the writer, not the storm bringer --- hasn't
been writing for all that long. His first novel, THE LIONS OF THE
LUCERNE (published in 2002), introduced the world to ex-Navy SEAL
and now covert agent Scot Harvath. Since then, Thor has quickly
built an enviable career by exponentially topping himself with each
new work. I was certain that he couldn't surpass last year's
BLOWBACK, which features as ingenious a weapon as you'll likely
encounter. TAKEDOWN gloriously proves me wrong.
If there is one certainty in post 9/11 America, it is that there
will be another successful terrorist attack. There have been
attempts, foiled out of sight and under the radar. Unfortunately,
one will slip through eventually. When it does, I have a sneaking
suspicion that it will occur as described within the first 100
pages or so of TAKEDOWN. This attack, which paralyzes New York City
and results in thousands of deaths, is astounding in its simplicity
and devastating in its consequences. It is also, as it turns out, a
cover for something far more insidious.
In New York, following a mission that ironically dovetails into the
terrorists' intent, Harvath finds himself improvising a search and
destroy mission with random volunteers against a highly trained
team of terrorists picked specifically for this mission and who
know exactly where they're going and what they're up against.
Harvath and his team, meanwhile, have no idea what is transpiring.
In the course of picking up the pieces they stumble upon a secret
known only to the terrorists and those at the highest level of the
United States government.
Thor's descriptions are gritty, realistic and true to life ---
those who prefer to play in politically correct sandboxes would be
better served to look elsewhere --- and give one the sense that he
has been there and at least seen, if not done, that. Thor also
apparently has been privy to some extreme interrogation techniques.
There is one described within the pages of TAKEDOWN that would have
had me happily betraying all that I hold dear within but a few
seconds of its application, which is all the more reason why it is
hopefully being field-tested even as we speak.
Thor has created an enthralling work, surprising and startling the
reader right up until the very end --- which sets things up for the
next novel. Some words about the ending: have a defibrillator
standing by. No peeking, but I read it four times to make sure I
wasn't seeing things. I wasn't. The ending is as explosive as the
beginning and will keep you wondering about and waiting for Thor's
TAKEDOWN should head the syllabus for anyone taking a class in
Thrillers 101. This is a smart, explosive work that details events
about to happen outside your front door. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 23, 2011