Saturday, September 01, 2018

Fourth Claymore Straker Thriller from Paul Hardisty, ABSOLUTION, Questions Everything

Ever read the ads in the back of Soldier of Fortune magazine? I did for a year or so. Maybe that's part of why I like the Clay Straker books so much -- Paul Hardisty's compelling thriller series set in South Africa and other nations on that continent, Arabic or otherwise. Straker's not initially a soldier for hire; he's enlisted with his closest friends in defense of South Africa, and the group is largely Boer in approach and language (he calls his allies his brothers, and his office his father, in a real sense).

But in the past three books -- The Abrupt Physics of Dying, The Evolution of Fear, and Reconciliation for the Dead -- we've traveled a journey of many killings and much thought with Claymore Straker. Forced to depend on black-skinned allies against everything he's been taught, learning to treasure human life regardless of national origin, and finding himself desperately in love over the long term with a woman who's left his continent have all contributed to Clay's growth and a deeper dignity.

Now, in the fourth book of the series, ABSOLUTION, Clay Straker makes mature, if highly risky, choices in order to merit a partnership of the heart with Raina LaTour. Raina, a journalist in hiding, is framed for killing her own husband and child. If Clay can save her and rediscover her family, he may lose her yet another time, for the sake of her child and possibly radicalized Muslim husband

But if he wants to truly live with himself -- or anyone else -- he's got to man up to the task. Terrorists? Multinational plots? Watch him struggle ... and take up effective arms. Yet some of the assistance he needs will have to come from the fellow South African military men he no longer identifies with:
'That's how you found me in Maputo in eighty-two,' said Clay.

Crowbar grunted.

'And again last year, before I went back to testify to the TRC. And on Zanzibar.'

Crowbar coughed. 'We've been tracking you, Straker.'

We. Clay shivered. He felt naked, stripped, lashed by the wind. ... 'But why, Koevoet? Why?' Clay had known since 1982 that Crowbar was somehow linked to the Broderbond. But never in his wildest imaginings could he have conceived of this.
Hardisty's series pulls action into harsh terrain and harsher cultural shifts. Claymore Straker's painful growth and potential losses raise the stakes of this international thriller, touching the emotional keys that Lee Child and Jeffery Deaver finger so well. There's no going back, as Clay begins to understand the truths of his world.

You'll get more out of this, and feel more of the shock, if you've read the other three books first. But it will work just fine to grab ABSOLUTION now, spin through it, then collect the others and read the entire sequence. Hardisty is a narrative force coming into his own, book by dense and thrilling book.

Thanks to Orenda Books for making sure Americans can easily access this series.

PS:  Looking for more mystery reviews, from cozy to very dark? Browse the Kingdom Books mysteries review blog here.

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