Today I’m delighted to share my thoughts on Red Mist, the brand new Mallory thriller from Ant Middleton. I really loved Cold Justice and knew that Mallory was a character I wanted to see again. My thanks to the publisher for an early look via Netgalley – here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
Hiding out in a small village in France, ex-Special Forces veteran turned vigilante Mallory is trying to keep out of trouble, aware that there is a darkness within him that seeks out trouble – that enjoys it.
But one night in a bar he meets an old man afraid for his granddaughter, worried about the young man with whom she’s become involved.
Unable to resist the pull of action, and of helping a family in need, Mallory is quickly drawn into a turf war that it will take all his special skills to survive.
The Sunday Times-bestselling book one in the Mallory series, Cold Justice, is available now.
Sometimes I just want a good old fashioned action thriller to read, one that is going to keep me entertained from start to finish. If it’s got a great protagonist, all the better, and with the Mallory series by Ant Middleton, I get all of that and more. Mallory is a fabulous character, unapologetically content to be in the midst of the action, his motives for getting involved may not be entirely altruistic – at the end of the day he actively seeks the conflict and loves the thrill of a hunt – but he always acts on the side of right, and his moral code is strong, even if his actions don’t always appear to match. Mallory is an all action hero, with the skills of a true hunter but a heart of gold. Just hope you never get on his bad side …
This time around we join Mallory as he is working as a labourer in France. Fortune brings him together with one of the town’s residents, an old gentleman by the name of Serge, who tells Mallory of his fears for his granddaughter, Océane, who he has lost touch with following a heated argument. Being a sentimental sort, Mallory takes it upon himself to head to Paris and seek out Océane to try and convince her to get back in touch with her grandfather. Now this would not be a very good action thriller if Mallory was just travelling around France acting as peacemaker between the generations and it’s not long before we see just how much trouble Océane is in. Although he has no real stake in this particular game, Mallory is soon caught in the thick of the action with a bit of a personal score to settle.
I really enjoyed this book. A mixture of organised crime, action and mystery, you get a real flavour of just where the story is going right from the off, with the adrenaline pulsing from the very first pages. It’s a pacy read with plenty of action to keep you turning the pages, but some quieter moments too, providing a little respite for readers and allowing us time to think about what has happened. We get to see Mallory using all of his skills, an air of authenticity brought to bear on all of them by the author’s own experience. Yes, he does sometimes edge towards the very cusp of probability, waging a one man war against some very skilled and deadly mercenaries, but the enjoyment of the story, and of Mallory as a character, meant that I was more than willing to go along with it.
I really enjoyed Océane as a character too. There is a real feistiness to her, a fighting spirit that doesn’t seem to be crushed no matter how much danger she is in. The author gets the balance just right, allowing Mallory to take the lead where is it clear his skills are required, but not allowing Océane to simply become window dressing. She may not have the might or the skills of Mallory, but she is his match intellectually and attitudinally, and she was a fun character to get to know. As her story is very heavily tied to Mallory’s quest, this is a key factor, and as a reader, it was as important that I was invested in her fate every bit as much as it was that of Mallory.
The fight scenes in this book range from the very one-sided moments, where Mallory proves that even two are no match for one when that one has special forces, training, to those where Mallory is really up against it and it looks as though his fate may well be sealed. It’s fair to say that the real driving force behind what happens in this book is pound for pound, and skill for skill, Mallory’s equal, and it leads to a very high stakes, high tension thriller of a climax to the whole affair. The hunter becomes the hunted, and believe me that plays both ways. Just who wins out, and how, you will need to read to discover, but it really did satisfy.
I’m loving the development of this series, and of learning more about Mallory. For me, he’s a refreshing character, one who lives for conflict and loves the thrill of the chase more than anything. I can’t wait to see where Ant Middleton, and Mallory, lead us next.
About the Author
Ant Middleton was the front man for Channel 4’s hit show, SAS: Who Dares Wins, among other major series, and a hugely bestselling non-fiction author. Born in Portsmouth and raised in rural France, Ant set his sights on a career in the armed forces and didn’t stop striving until he achieved his goal. Over the course of his career he has served in the Special Boat Service, the Royal Marines and 9 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers, achieving what is known as the ‘Holy Trinity’ of the UK’s Elite Forces.