So. Rachel Amphlett has another audio book out. Book three in her Dan Taylor series as a matter of fact, narrated once more by the fabulous Craig Beck. Now, I know I hide it rather well but I am somewhat of a fan of thrillers and I am rather partial to this series. I am not sure at this stage, as I have listened to all three book on audio rather than read them, whether I have a random book crush on Dan Taylor or on Craig Beck (sorry – possibly best to run for the hills now just in case 😉 )
Anyhoo, I will share my review of this latest addition to the series in just a mo, but first of all, here is what the book is all about.
Official Book Blurb
Dan Taylor has survived two attempts on his life. The rest of his team is missing, and now a terrorist group has stolen a radioactive isotope from a top secret government project.
Can Dan survive long enough to prevent a nuclear disaster on British soil?
With the Prime Minister determined to re-negotiate the country’s place in the European Union, and deals being struck behind closed doors, Dan stumbles across a plot that will shake the country to its core.
If his mission fails, his enemies will overthrow the British government, and Dan will be a wanted man.
If he wants to succeed, he’ll have to sacrifice everything…
Well, fluff me. What on earth are you doing to our poor Dan, Ms Amphlett? I mean, he’s always put in a tight spot, his life on the line and risking everything but in Three Lives Down he is hit by all that and the kitchen sink. Man, this book certainly keeps you on your toes.
You are hit with fast paced action from the very first chapter where an elite team is sent into Eastern Europe to rescue an important hostage. From here we travel to the North East of England where a team of scientists running a fracking operation find their ives in danger for something far more potent than a potential gas supply. Throw in a healthy dose of double cross, the now familiar energy and environmental tussle which informs these books, and our hero Dan Taylor, now on his own following the disappearance of his colleagues Mitch and David Ludlow, and the scene is set for one tense, political/environmental thriller. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all tense action. There are moments of calm, particularly when Dan spends time with journalist Sarah, his on again off again girlfriend who we first met in White Gold. But in fairness these are few and far between as from the moment Sarah and Dan meet up she is feeding him information which is going to lead him into certain danger and set him against his most trying and powerful opponent yet – the British Government.
The beauty of listening to the audio book, coupled with having a very long drive for work, is that I got to listen to this all in the same day. It meant no real break in the tension, no let up in the action, save for a couple of hours meeting before I was on the road again. And this worked perfectly because it felt like a read/listen in one sitting kind of a book. The story really did grip me, several moments making me smile if only because Dan or Mitch did exactly as I expected them to. I don’t mean that it felt predictable, far from it. I just now feel like I know them so well. They are characters who have really grown on me, hardened and focused by their military training, they will do anything to protect their country, but they are still passionate and ultimately human. They are very likeable and I’m loathe to race through book four now because I will miss them.
As for the story. It is twisted and full of duplicitous and treacherous behaviour from all parties, so much so that it is hard to know who to trust. I must admit there were elements that had me and my colleague grinning. We have spent the last few months talking about MSDS (material safety data sheets) at work and to hear them being talked about in the book as well made us chuckle. And elements of the story are very topical given that in the book there are strong links to the whole failed EU negotiations, the precursor to the wonderful (?) situation of Brexit that we now find ourselves in. Oh the irony.
But oh. That ending. Urf. That’s the only way to describe it. What next for poor Dan? I really want to find out but I also really don’t. Finding the balance between delaying the inevitable and satisfying my curiosity is going to be very difficult. I really do love this series. It has everything I look for in a thriller. Strong characters, great plotting, convincing setting and a lot of fabulous but not fantastical action. Rachel Amphlett manages to humanise it, make it feel authentic rather than make it unbelievable. And the narration on the audio book is top notch, really capturing the essence of each individual character perfectly.
A brilliantly plotted story full of deception and heart pumping action. And a clown. **shudders** 5 stars.
My thanks to author Rachel Amphlett for providing the audio copy of Three Lives Down which I chose to review, basically because it is fabulous. You can bag yourself a copy of the book (or audio) from the following retailers: