If you are a Brad Thor fan, you won’t be disappointed with his latest thriller released earlier this month.
If you don’t know who Brad Thor is and are lured by the brilliant cover design or curious about picking up one of his books for the first time, you are in for a riveting, roller coaster ride unlike any you’ve been on. I suspect you won’t be disappointed.
Undoubtedly, Thor’s alter-ego is Scot Harvath, America’s top sleuth and deadly operative, who has graced the pages of more than 20 previous books. “Rising Tiger” is his latest.
Fast-paced and, like a roller coaster jolts up and down, it has heart-stopping twists and turns along the way. The mind-blowing images give readers a glorious genre to savor or sample.
One Incident After Another
The book opens with a horrific battle on the border between India and China in the Galwan Valley.
No sooner are you taking a breath from those dire consequences than you are on a street in Rajasthan as an American agent is assassinated.
An Indian Air Force helicopter is downed, killing 13 with one survivor.
Powerful forces are afoot. Threats are global, and engaging the enemy could be nation-ending. It’s war but without armies on the battlefield.
Instead, the battle is waged in bars, fancy hotels, and sleazy warehouses. The combatants fight under cover of darkness, often alone, and with missions cloaked in secrecy and subterfuge. It’s a game between predator and prey, between the hunter and the hunted.
Release the Super Spy
These battle sites are the premier playing ground for the likes of Scot Harvath, who moves easily between gently sipping a bourbon one moment to gunning down a target in the next. For Harvath, it’s business. It’s what he does; it’s who he is.
But behind the James Bond-esque glamor and bravado, Harvath is principled. He loves his country. He believes that the American Dream will only hold if there are those willing to protect it. As long as America stands apart as a beacon of liberty where individual rights are valued, it will be threatened by governmental forces opposed to democracy.
The United States needs highly committed individuals willing to take extreme risks no matter where the fight takes them. It’s a dangerous, life-threatening game that few are able and willing to play.
Author Thor not only gives readers taut thrillers, but he places the action in political hotspots with potential conflicts that are real. In “Rising Tiger,” Harvath is thrust into an entirely new backdrop: exotic and enigmatic India. He’s teamed up with a street-wise cop, Vijay, and an attractive and tenacious RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) Indian agent, Asha.
The three exchange light-hearted conversations with touches of humor as they impressively survive numerous shootouts to take out the bad actors, and there are plenty of them.
The Reader’s Experience
Thor’s capacity to entertain with nonstop action would appear unrivaled in this genre. At the same time, he informs. His topics, whether they be potential political alliances, counter-terrorism technology, or government stability, are well researched. Noting the “acknowledgments” at the end of the book, you’ll see a host of military and government sources, many for their expertise in national security.
As Harvath and his team maneuver through the streets of New Delhi or Jaipur, readers are afforded glimpses into Indian culture with bright festival visuals and tantalizing menu offerings. There are also shady backwater alleyways crowded with questionable characters infused with malicious motives. Combined, the setting is all the more vivid and potent as their escapades are exhilarating entertainment and clearly cinematic in description.
Some readers may disagree but depending on your ambiance factor, I find naming specific brands, like “a 15-year-old Pappy Van Winkle,” rather than just saying bourbon, to be intriguing and an enhancement to the scene. This liquid gold hails from Kentucky and is beyond expensive. Without going into a ton of detail, whoever is drinking this or knows of it goes into an immediate category. Thor does this deftly and it lets us know more about the intrepid super spy.
The same goes for music. In one scene, as Vijay and Harvath head toward a bloody mission, they’ve got “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” by The Gap Band playing on a CD. It’s just the kind of dance music to get you in the mood for some fast moving around, albeit with assault weapons. There’s actually a “Rising Tiger” playlist with songs from funk to rock ‘n roll. Too much music marketing? Perhaps, but it all works to build excitement and keep you turning the pages.
Thor has stated that he wants each book to be better than the last. He wants you to be entertained. He also wants you to learn more about what is happening in the world. Be a bit wiser about geopolitics. “Rising Tiger” does that.
By Brad Thor
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, July 5, 2022
Paperback: 336 pages