Gunnery Sergeant Jack Coughlin
with Donald A Davis
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Review: Karen Watkins
This fast paced action thriller is the ninth in the genre for this duo who penned Kill Zone, Dead Shot and One Hit, among others.
Long Shot begins in Rome with CIA sniper Kyle Swanson aiming for a head shot.
He deftly pulls the trigger and a .50 calibre bullet tears off the entire skull of Roland Lewis Martin.
The nice looking Swanson has a muscular build from his days playing offensive tackle on the Bellwood High Blue Jackets football team.
The physical conditioning continued during his years of fighting Islamic jihadists.
And while the book might sound gory, it isn’t. The detail in taking the shot is a fascinating window into ballistics and testament to Coughlin’s background in the Third Battalion, Fourth Marines, during their mission to Baghdad.
While keeping up with the action in a thriller movie is visceral, it is not so easy with a book and yet Davis drives the pacy speed. He is author of 25 books including several New York Times bestsellers.
Swanson’s cover is his day job as vice president of the multinational defence industry company called Excalibur Enterprises. He is convinced that a top Russian defector is running a complex plot to hand Russia a kingdom in the north.
In his search for the truth he travels to Narva in Estonia where he meets Anneli Kallesti. She offers her services as translator in return for his help with her boyfriend, who is to become the town’s new mayor.
To slow him down, the Russians kidnap Swanson’s beautiful friend Calico, the CIA station chief in Estonia.
What I particularly enjoyed was travelling to places I’ve never been as Swanson takes the action from Italy to Helsinki, Estonia and the Arctic Circle.
He’s on the hunt, smelling a Russian rat, following his instincts, often with no idea where he’s going.
From beginning to end, the characters keep you riveted in this well-crafted, tense adventure which ends with a cliff-hanger.