I love reading Tony Kent’s books. Packed with action and featuring some brilliant characters, gripping plotlines, and heart pumping tension, they really hit the spot for me. Today I’m delighted to re-share my thoughts on the latest Joe Dempsey adventure, No Way To Die, which is out in paperback later this month. Tony Kent is also one of the featured authors on tonight’s First Monday Crime panel over on Facebook (Monday 4th at 19:30), alongside Imran Mahmood (I Know What I Saw), Graham Bartlett (Bad For Good); Neil Lancaster (The Blood Tide) and Joy Kluver (Left For Dead). What better reason to revisit one of y 2021 red hot reads, right? Here’s what the book is all about:
About the Book
A deadly threat. A ghost from the past. And time is running out…
When traces of a radioactive material are found alongside a body in Key West, multiple federal agencies suddenly descend on the crime scene. This is not just an isolated murder: a domestic terrorist group is ready to bring the US government to its knees.
The threat hits close to home for Agent Joe Dempsey when he discovers a personal connection to the group. With his new team member, former Secret Service agent Eden Grace, Dempsey joins the race to track down the terrorists’ bomb before it’s too late. But when their mission falls apart, he is forced to turn to the most unlikely of allies: an old enemy he thought he had buried in his past.
Now, with time running out, they must find a way to work together to stop a madman from unleashing horrifying destruction across the country.
Not going to lie – I do love me a bit of Joe Dempsey. Luckily for me, with No Way To Die Tony Kent has treated readers to a whole lot of Dempsey and a lot more beside. Tense, action packed and full of threat, mystery and misdirection, this book grabs you from the opening pages and rattles every last nerve as it takes you on one heck of a bumpy ride. It’s up to Dempsey, Eden Grace and a whole host of Special Agents from across the US Agencies to prevent what would potentially be one of the most catastrophic acts of domestic terrorism the country has seen.
I’m exhausted just thinking about it, but that’s nothing compared with what awaits my favourite action man, Joe Dempsey. And all when he thought he was set to have a nice long holiday too … I love how Tony Kent pulls us into this story. You know from the beginning that something is a little … off, but it takes a time for the whole picture to become clear. Even as the facts slowly emerge, I felt my spine tingling, knowing that there was someone very clever, very manipulative, pulling the strings. It’s just that underlying sense of something darker, something just out of line of sight, that permeates the narrative and really kept me focused and intrigued about what I was reading.
And what a something it is. There was a point in the story where I could see the direction the story was going to take … sort of. You can see the deception playing out, to a degree, but I certainly wasn’t prepared for everything that came to pass. The author has played a blinder, letting readers in on the secret just a fraction before Dempsey sees the light, but in such a deadly game, that fraction of a second is all it takes for everything you think you know to be completely blown apart, and to very spectacular effect. It had me both hopping mad AND smiling with delight, not an easy combination to pull off I think you’ll agree.
I do love the way in which Tony Kent has built up his characters. As much as he was a kind of aloof, rather reserved and focused figure in Killer Intent, over the course of the series we have really come to know Joe Dempsey, and the more I know, the more I see of him beyond the rigid, duty driven soldier persona, the more I like him. He’s definitely one of my favourite action heroes and an absolute go to when it comes to needing a thrill fix to read. Alongside him it is great to see Eden Grace back. She really made a mark in the book’s predecessor and it is great to see such a strong, capable female character matching Dempsey stride for stride. They make a brilliant combination and compliment each other perfectly. Dempsey may have more experience and more pure strength, but Eden is right up there too as a force to be reckoned with.
In fact, there are a lot of strong female characters in this book with some notable, high profile characters taking centre stage. Whereas once upon a time this kind of novel would be awash with testosterone – and don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty on display – two very key players are rocking the XX chromosomes and really making waves in Key West. The presence of Special Agent ‘Don’t call me Bambi’ O’Rourke of Homeland Security and Agent Nicki May from the Department of Justice make it clear very early on that the case is big, much bigger than a simple murder. Almost as big as O’Rourke’s personality to be fair. She made me laugh at times, but she has been written perfectly. Never any question over her authority, but it was an understated commanding of the scenes in which she appeared that made the impression, rather than an over exaggerated expression of dominance and aggression that is often seen when trying to develop strong female characters.
The bad guys in this novel are underhand and very, very cunning, such is the way of the antagonist. There is a level of violence which underpins parts of the text, but never played out in a gratuitous way. Tony Kent brings the action to the page in an almost matter of fact way – quick, sharp, exact and over in the blink of an eye – much as you’d expect when you realise quite who is involved. If you have been with the series from the start then a certain name may well make you sit up and take note. When this person is involved it can only mean danger, although the circumstances may be a touch surprising too. But I liked it, liked the way Tony Kent used the tension and history between the characters to inform and enhance the story, and loved watching the conflicting emotions within Dempsey as he tried to put his preconceptions aside and work out just who to trust.
If you like action packed, high stakes, high tension reads, stacked with brilliant characters, tight plotting and a truly addictive story that will keep you riveted from start to finish, you need to read this book. I loved it. Heck. You need to read the whole series. It’s a heady combination of action, legal and political thrillers that is just damned good fun. Definitely recommended. And for the humour, the misdirection and the mighty fine characters, it got one of these too …
About the Author
Tony Kent is a practising criminal barrister who draws on his legal experience to bring a striking authenticity to his thrillers: Killer Intent, Marked for Death, Power Play and now No Way To Die.
Ranked as a ‘leader in his field’ Tony has prosecuted and defended in the most serious trials during his twenty years at the Criminal Bar – specialising in murder, terrorism, corruption, kidnap and organised crime. His case history is filled with nationally reported trials and his practice has brought him into close professional contact with GCHQ, the Security Service and the Ministry of Defence. He has also defended in matters with an international element, involving agencies such as the FBI.
Tony also appears as a criminal justice expert on a number of TV shows, including Meet, Marry, Murder (coming soon to Netflix), My Lover, My Killer and Kill Thy Neighbour (both Channel 5).
Prior to his legal career Tony represented England as a heavyweight boxer and won a host of national amateur titles.
He lives just outside of London with his wife, young son and dog.