M W Craven has delivered a brand new hero in his latest novel, Fearless. Take a bow Ben Koenig, a ‘ghost’ who no longer officially exists.
Six years ago, it was Koenig who headed up the US Marshal’s elite Special Ops group. They were the elite unit who hunted the bad guys – the really bad guys. They did this so no one else had to. Until the day Koenig disappeared. He told no one why and he left no forwarding address. For six years he became a grey man. Invisible. He drifted from town to town, state to state. He was untraceable. It was as if he had never been.
Now Koenig’s face is on every television screen in the country. Someone from his past is trying to find him and they don’t care how they do it. In the burning heat of the Chihuahuan Desert lies a town called Gauntlet, and there are people there who have a secret they’ll do anything to protect. They’ve killed before and they will kill again. Only this time they’ve made a mistake. They’ve dismissed Koenig as just another drifter – but they’re wrong.
This is high-tempo, edge of the razor-sharp knife stuff indeed. In fact, so unrelenting is the action a warning of potential suffocation should be provided with every copy. Koenig is an absolute joy. A quick-witted, hard talking mean machine with more flaws than a cheap suit, his is persona who makes Jack Reacher look timid in comparison.
Then there are Craven’s antagonists. Peyton North is simply drizzled in delicious duplicity and guile, whereas Spencer Quinn and the Bond-villainesque Andrews are dyed-in-the-wool psychos drawn with such malevolence it makes the blood curdle simply reading about their nastiness.
And all of this is without mentioning Jen Draper, the badass SOG operative Koenig really doesn’t like. What a love hate relationship needs is a sense of true spice and Craven ladles it on with these two so’s the reader becomes a voyeur on a bar room brawl in prose.
The dialogue is snappy, the setting a seminal character and the plotting is as dynamic as it, at times, ludicrous. However, with that said, Fearless remains a monumentally entertaining, rip-roaring ride into the heart of the abyss that’ll keep readers guessing from first page to last. Oh, it’s bloody good fun as well!
M W Craven
Publisher : Constable
Hardcover : 448 pages
ISBN-10 : 0349135606
ISBN-13 : 978-0349135601
29th June, 2023