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Locked Down by Ed Kovaks is a gutsy hi-tech thriller set in Hong Kong and Guangzhou.

Make no mistake about it, the author knows the territory.

It’s not short of humour either.

‘The explosive sound of compressed air suddenly blasting all over him was loud enough to wake the dead, but maybe the air would blow away any bad chi, bad energy.’

And the dialogue is gritty, steeped in 60’s noir crime novels.

“No names, no info until we have a deal. You sell me on a plan to get my butt safely out of here, and I’ll sing the Hallelujah Chorus for you.”

The book is culturally anchored to the region.

“Ai ya.” Tang rolled his eyes skyward as if looking for divine guidance from the spirits of deceased Taoist masters to whom he sometimes prayed.’

There’ a fair bit of violence and supplication too.

‘This play didn’t even qualify as a Hail Mary, but he found himself nodding, because it was all they had.’

For anyone interested in espionage set in Asia, then read Locked Down which is sprinkled with fair bit of cynicism as if the  author has been there and done that in real life.

‘That’s just how these kind of deep black, one-off operations went when the crap hit the fan and the gutless desk jockeys and armchair commandos inside the Beltway faced having their illegal machinations exposed.’

There’s more blood in this book than a bottle of Heinz ketchup.

‘The worst night of his life was screeching downhill, and then two rounds tore into his…’

And the twists.

‘Grant and Hernandez must be using an elaborate CIA support team. They’d even suckered Ma’s men into an Agency field office.’

As I said, Locked Down was  a gutsy book. I came out of thinking, what the fuck was that? It was a tornado of emotions and kill with intention action, hallmarks of a writer who loves his guns and  a good conversation. It’s a shame Jacky Chan didn’t get a mention.  Maybe he”ll use him as an undercover spook in the sequel.

There’s no espionage angle that’s not explored in this book. I’m giving the author five stars. Amazon wouldn’t  let me post this review so they can fuck off!

Locked Down  ain’t no Rocky franchise ( it’s too sleek for that, sorry Sly), but it has all the ingredients worthy of the big screen. Jet Li, are you reading?

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