I got a Waterstones book voucher for my birthday.  So without really thinking I went to my local shop and searched around for a decent crime thriller to read.  I scanned the shelves trying to find something that I thought looked good.  I had read all the Tom Wood (Victor the Assassin) books, the Michael Connolly books were all done, David Baldacci done – oh wait what’s this book.  “The Time to Kill” by Mason Cross, ah now I remember, I had read “The Killing Season” before and thought it was excellent.  I had given the book a rating of 9.2/10 which is a top mark, I do think you will struggle to find another book as good.

Is this book like Jack Reacher?

Well, the main character Carter Blake is a brilliant hero.  He tracks people and finds people that don’t want to be found.  I must admit the logo on the front of the book with a quote from Lee Child saying “My kind of book” did help me decide to buy it.  Carter Blake is a clever guy, has compassion for people, uses his military skills to find people which doesn’t always work out easy and does get him in lots of trouble.  He works solo, half the money up front, half the money once the person has been found.  A loner like Jack Reacher, he can plan ahead, well in advance to see what opportunites will come his way in tricky situations.

What is the book about?

The book starts with someone on the run, being chased by professional assassins.  You know the person being chased is also a professionsal but you are not sure why they are being chased and if they survive.

The plot then goes back and forth in time, current day with Carter Blake choosing his new job and seeing how to find the missing person.  Then going back to a time when Carter had a girlfriend and worked for certain under the radar government projects.

What sets the book off plot wise is the clever way Mason Cross writes from the different perspective of Carter and the person he is trying to track.  Then we realise some background tension, that his old under the radar projects are coming back to haunt him, with a specific request to shoot and kill.  Can Carter Blake escape from the best trackers in the world, the people who he used to work for intent on taking him out.  Can he finish the job that he has been contracted to do?  The detail with which Mason Cross writes is brilliant.  We learn about the various team characters that Carter worked for within the past, we also find out about the new head of the secret unit he used to work for and why she feels compelled to shut Mason down.

Is there any Jack Reacher action?

The plot flies by at speed.   Mason Cross uses the plot and speed of writing to crank up the pace as you need to know if Carter will survive.  As we are in the World Cup season and England are doing very well, I thought that I would struggle to read this book unless it had lots of action.  Well I can say there was lots of action, clever twists as Carter has to navigate through surving enemy after enemy.  I didn’t have lots of confidence in Carter staying alive, as he hasn’t the same fighting skills that Jack Reacher has.  He can fight, use weapons and talk his way out of situations, the only thing is these people who are after him are trained and know all the tricks in the book to try and capture him.

Final thoughts

Without spoiling the plot for you, I just generally thought this was an excellent book to read.  I like the Jason Bourne films and did think that this has a similar thread to the movies, explosive action and twists a plenty.

From the very first page I was gripped, I wanted to know about Carter Blake’s history and the project that he worked for. Why was the main agency trying to kill him and what had happened back when he did the projects.  If you are looking for an amazing read that will only take you a couple of days to read then I suggest this book is for you.

 

Have a look at my other reviews of books that are like Mason Cross, here!  Let me know what you think in the comments box below.

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