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by Ted Bell
William Morrow, May 2018
387 pages
ISBN: 0062684515

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Alex Hawke is frequently compared to James Bond. He's a British Lord, sometime employee of MI6 who surrounds himself with a select group of other spies and commandos. But Alex (he asks to be called Alex) has a soft spot, his beloved son, Alexei, age 7, and when the boy is kidnapped out of a ski lift rising up a mountain in Switzerland, Alex is devastated.

News has just floated up in the espionage community that Vladimir Putin has disappeared. The Russian Oligarchs' power had been growing, no longer grateful for all that Putin has done for them. Could it possibly be Putin, long time friend/enemy of Lord Hawke, who has stolen his boy?

Lord Hawke is a direct descendant of the pirate captain Blackhawke. Alex is a superhero of a man, giant, handsome with killer blue eyes and a smile that can melt a woman's heart. But when riled, he becomes very focused, his eyes steely, He's an elemental warrior who surrounds himself with other men of the same true grit. This group becomes avengers, sworn to rescue Alexei and mete out revenge on his kidnappers.

Meanwhile Putin has parachuted out of his private plane over a field in Southern France. He wanders around until he finds an isolated cabin and is taken in by a friendly hermit.

Alex gathers his commando unit and mounts several assaults, armed to the teeth with weapons, technology and piles of money. If you enjoy a good battle scene, with the heroes outnumbered, in disadvantaged situations, OVERKILL is the book for you. (The title refers to Putin's plan to take back his position in Russia.) To make the battles even more thrilling, there are three sides in each fight and the final scheme involves stealing lots of that Swiss gold hidden deep in the Alps.

A number of really scary characters threaten Alex and his team, especially a Texan named Shit Smith, whose love of assassination leads him to confront our hero.

OVERKILL, Ted Bell's tenth Alex Hawke novel ends here, surely suggesting that in the next Alex Hawke is soon to appear, with more superheroes, more commando raids, fantastic love interests and all we have come to expect of Ted Bell.

Susan Hoover is a playwright, independent producer and retired college English teacher. She lives in Nova Scotia.

Reviewed by Susan Hoover, June 2018

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