Hello! I’m delighted to kick off the blog tour for 66 Metres with Anne Bonny Book Reviews! Get ready for some James Bond waves!
Title: 66 Metres
Date of publication: 2016
Format: Digital Review Copy
Number of pages: 232
“A masterfully paced action thriller that takes readers to unexplored depths. The first novel in J. F. Kirwan’s Nadia Laksheva series introduces a heroine that readers are bound to fall hard for.” BestThrillers.com
Nadia’s life is cold. Not just because it starts in Moscow. Not just because her father is a killer. Not because her mother is hard to understand and her sister stuck with a terrible crowd. Nadia’s life is cold because there is no way out. At least until an opportunity gives her the choice of sacrificing five years working for a bad guy for a better life for her and her sister, away from the Russian’s affairs, away from her father’s legacy.
Nadia is not your usual character. I felt she barely had a choice in everything that happened to her. You don’t choose your family, but you choose to protect them, and the things you agree to can lead you… oh so far. This story is very cold. Freezing even. This family was dysfunctional from the start and Nadia has no choice but to live with the knowledge her father wasn’t a saint, a sister is a prostitute, and her mother not a very good help. There was a sad and chilling feeling that grabbed me from the start, coming both from the characterization and the writing, transporting me into the ruthless world of survival. Because this is what this story is about, at its core.
To save her sister, and herself, Nadia ends up on dangerous missions and we catch up with her on her very last, the threshold of freedom, five years later. I could actually see the heavy chains on her ankles start to disappear until I realized this mission was special. Dangerous. Crazy! We know that Nadia has spent months in a training camp so she could face whatever challenge her Russian master would throw at her, but I wasn’t expecting her in the Thames!
Trouble, lies, deception – it all belonged to the surface world.
It took me a little while to warm to Nadia’s story and the action itself. First of all, I knew nothing about diving, and that’s what we found our main character doing when we meet her again, and there were so much information thrown at me it was hard to catch my breath! I felt I was pushed in the middle of a James Bond movie, with lives at stake, a heist, the thrill you get when you don’t know if you’re gonna make it.
But the originality lies in the fact that, although she has been trained (and we can imagine a Russian training not being a spa vacation), Nadia hold principles, she wasn’t born for this, she hasn’t chosen this path of career, and her thoughts, while very professional, remains the ones of a young woman who doesn’t really belong here, whose internal dilemma puts her at risk, and whose choices are harder to make. Nadia is the opposite of cold. She is a fire ready to do what it takes to reach her goal, but not by leaving a trail of corpses behind her.
No mission is a piece of cake, but gosh this one is pure hell! Relying on people you only barely know, having to watch your back, never losing sight of what’s to do. I did wonder at times whether the Russian cliché was used here, but it all felt so real and tangible that I had to stop doubting and just accept the dark and greedy people, the harshness of Nadia’s world, the drops of blood on ice. The author skillfully balances action and characterization, introducing us to people I instantly liked, disliked, hated, distrusted. Well, I distrusted almost everyone at all times! I would make a great spy.
The pressure of private life intertwined with the mission only intensifies the feeling of urgency and riskiness of the situation. Some people don’t shy away from using whatever leverage they can get to obtain what they want, and my blood ran cold thinking about the millions Katyas, Nadias, and other thugs victims, caught in the middle of a war that isn’t theirs. Family is at the heart of this spy game of loose ends, red herrings, and lies.
Humanity should be more like the animal kingdom; when you’re too old to fight, you get taken out of the game.
This was not my first spy thriller, and 66 Metres has everything you need to make your heart beat faster, your brain ask for more oxygen, and keep your senses on alert at all times. I won’t explain the title, which I found to be extremely well chosen and perfect. The reason behind it scared me at first as I had little to, let’s face it, no knowledge of the subject, but it was clear and explained in ways that did not feel like reading a textbook. The author injects tension with every chapter, every new piece of information, every drop of water. The more time I spent with Nadia, the more scared I became, proving that the story had found a way to hook me and keep my head under water, unable to do anything else but keep fighting with Nadia.
You’ll find an expected but cleverly crafted array of characters along the way, with their flaws, motivations, and that little something that adds to the waters of mistrust. Your usual suspects will surprise you, your monsters will be monsters, and more people than should be will be involved in a global chase for what could bring a very realistic and awfully terrifying world war! The author uses a very current threat and puts it at the heart of a story led by a young woman who gets tangled up in something that overwhelms her, sealing her fate with those around her, with the weight of the world on her shoulders, and the hardest decisions to make.
Life wasn’t a novel for most people, especially in his line of work. It was a few pages that ended abruptly, usually mid-sentence.
66 Metres is a skillfully written spy thriller with a pace that doesn’t let you time to grab your tea cup but keeps you on your toes and holding your breath until the very end!
I would like to thank Thick as Thieves for providing me with a copy of this book and for letting me be a part of this blog tour!
Don’t forget to check the other stops on the tour for 66 Metres!