CriminOlly thinks: As thrilling a thriller as you could wish for – tense, claustrophobic and action-packed. 4/5
Title: Black Run | Author: DL Marshall | Series: John Tyler #2 | Publisher: Canelo | Publication date: 2nd December 2021 | Source: Publisher | Content warnings: No | Tolerance warning: No
Black Run is author DL Marshall’s follow up to his 2020 debut Anthrax Island. Itmight not have the attention grabbing title of his first book, but it does firmly cement John Tyler as a hero who can carry a series and Marshall as more than just a flash in the pan.
Like the first book, Black Run mixes full throttled action, mystery and claustrophobic tension into a very satisfying thriller that harks back to the glory days of the 50s, 60s and 70s when British authors like Alistair Maclean and Desmond Bagley were global bestsellers. Marshall infuses that classic page turner vibe with modern sensibilities. Tyler is a very 21st century hero – cynical but principled and far more concerned about doing the right thing by individuals than protecting governments.
This time around, he’s bringing back right wing extremist to face justice in the UK. The action switching between the mission to capture the terrorist, and Tyler’s passage back to England with his captive on board a dilapidated freighter. The seaborne setting for that second strand works brilliantly, stranding Tyler in an environment where he’s reliant on the ship’s crew but not totally sure he can trust them. There are twists galore, as well as a mounting body count and a palpable level of suspense as the elements conspire against Tyler as much as his human enemies. The other strand is just as fun, more action-packed and filled with tactical detail as Tyler works to outsmart his target’s body guards at an Alpine ski resort.
What makes these books is Tyler himself. As narrator as well as protagonist he does a brilliant job of keeping things entertaining as well as resolutely British. Tyler’s gruff humour is consistently amusing and provides a good balance for the sometimes brutal action. It all comes together into a very enjoyable read which moves at the pace of Tyler’s turbo-charged Audi. It’s exciting, packed with every kind of action scene you could thing of and written with the kind of energy and humour that tells you the author is having as much fun as you are.
John Tyler has a new mission: capture a heavily protected target from the Alps and smuggle him back into the UK in time for Christmas.
La Rochelle in the dead of night: Tyler boards the Tiburon, a rusting freighter crewed by smugglers and mercenaries, for the last leg of his journey. But he is short on time. His mark’s security team has pursued him across France, determined to retrieve their boss, and they won’t be deterred by an ocean. The race is on.
Tyler heads into the Bay of Biscay in a storm, with a pursuing boat snapping at his heels. But when his prisoner is found murdered inside a sealed hold on the ship, everyone on board becomes a suspect. In the flickering light of the Tiburon’s passageways there’s nowhere to run, but everywhere to hide.
Some might think the situation is spiralling out of control, but they don’t know John Tyler…
Content Warning: None
Tolerance Warning: All good