Andrew Grant, like David Trevellyan, the main character in his novels Even and Die Twice, does not worry too much about finesse. His writing beats the reader over the head, delivers a swift kick to the jugular, and leaves him gasping for air. Okay, that may be putting it a bit too strong; however, the point is that Grant’s books go from exploit to exploit, fight to fight, without a whole lot of let up. Which, of course, is what you want if you are reading a crime thriller in the first place.
In Die Twice Trevellyan travels from New York, the scene of Even, to Chicago to take down a rogue British agent who is trying to sell highly toxic gas to terrorists. He searches for the rogue agent, and then for the gas, and in the process covers just about all of downtown Chicago. The rogue agent is actually working for terrorists from a small African nation who want to use the gas to poison their whole country, for reasons that are not entirely clear. Luckily, Trevellyan finds the terrorists and some of the gas. Unfortunately, there is more gas, (“dun dun dun”), and it falls into even worse hands, to be used for even more nefarious purposes. What could possibly be worse than wiping out a small African nation? You’ll have to read the book to find out, though you may wonder which is worse. Of course, to save the day Trevellyan has to break a lot of noses, shoot a lot of people, and bust down a lot of doors. If this sounds a lot like Even, it’s because it is. Not in a bad way, but rather in a, “if you liked the original, you’ll love the sequel” way.
As I read Die Twice I wondered how close to being a rogue agent Trevellyan is himself; he doesn’t ever worry about back-up or following procedure and regularly takes justice into his own hands. His justification for killing is often that the people are bad (they are) and they deserve to die (they do); however, I was often left wondering what it would take for him to go off the rails and decide that someone who isn’t bad deserves to die and then just do it. He does seem to have gone a little bit more on edge in Die Twice than he was in Even and a little closer to that point. Maybe that kind of edge is good in a fictional action hero, but…I just can’t help wondering if he couldn’t do with a little more sense of principle. He is British after all. Wondering what Trevellyan will do next, and whether he’s going to eventually go nuts, will keep me reading the next installment. Which is probably the point anyway.