This amazingly gruesome treat for bored eyes pulls off a deviously twisted thrill ride that takes the fun factor of the action thriller genre to a whole new level. Joshua Hood shows his narrative genius in his brutally mind-blowing action sequences; damaged yet awesomely fun characters; detailed yet understandable descriptions of guns, gear, weaponry, vehicles, and tech; and his simple but suspensefully breathtaking story.
By no means is this a Robert Ludlum story, and that’s a good thing. Ludlum’s epic, long form, and dramatic thrillers belong in a bygone era and cannot be replicated. There are references in this book to Ludlum’s work like the Treadstone 71 project and ‘The amnesiac assassin’ which establish its presence in the literary Ludlum-verse, but the Treadstone in this book/series feels similar to the organization’s cinematic counterpart with the pharmaceutical mind bending drugs that creates a better and more damaged breed of assassins.
Refreshingly to the author’s credit, Mr. Hood brings another long lost genre to life – the Mack Bolan type violent, tactically intense, turbo murder classic action thrillers – with a more modern and a mainstream branding, recognition, and exposure to this sub-genre with a professional quality in his writing that shows his expertise. Though a fairly short read for a full length thriller, the book stays driven mostly by its protagonist(Adam Hayes), and keeps the plot straightforward for the genre’s readers to keep its focus on Hayes’ character development, and this works as an effective but simple origin story for the series.
Adam Hayes, one of the most awesome badasses to grace the action thriller genre’s hall of fame, has escaped his life as an assassin for Treadstone, and is trying to become normal after his rage damaged his marriage and family. But he’s immediately dragged into a chaotic, non-stop kill or be killed frenzy when assassins target him at his work. Hayes manages to outsmart and brutally dispatch the mercenaries hired to finish him off. He eventually realizes that he is targeted as a loose end for an email he received from his former Treadstone(and Special Forces before that) friend who’s already killed by the villains for digging into their conspiracy.
The conspiracy connects two coups in Venezuela, a corrupt US Senator, a disenfranchised CIA officer with a get rich quick scheme, a former Navy SEAL turned hitman, the director of the Venezuelan intelligence agency – SEBIN, drug cartels, money printing, the DEA, and an aging Treadstone that’s going out of funding for being a dinosaur in the age of drones. Most of these tropes are common in the genre, but this book shines from the author’s gut-wrenching, diabolically fun, emotionally charged, darkly humorous, tactically savage and smart execution.
The villains in this story are nothing new, but Hayes steals the show. Adam Hayes is an anti-hero, a one-man army, a dangerous killer who’s constantly battling the demons within himself, never hesitates to kill the other person, and has a rogue, vague, and grim sense of morality for himself. Though he dispatches all the villains in his revenge fueled, raging killing spree, Hayes is not a character meant for the sensitive and the weak minded. The profanity loaded, adrenaline fueled, blood pumping narration only lets up for a few moments between the action to give context to the characters and elaborate the situation with nonlinear narratives(flashbacks) and stages of planning and intel gathering.
Sequences of guerilla warfare, jungle crawl, bloody and creative close quarters fights, piloting, machine guns and grenade launcher filled action, crashing choppers and bikes, intense torture, vigilante violence, and a rough fight for survival are written with a heavy level of detail to satisfy any action thriller purist. A minor but exciting character in this book, a helpful black ops intel and operator friend to Hayes, is a fictional cameo from another thriller author referred only with the name JT. Insiders of the genre will know who it is. Adam Hayes is in a league of his own but is on par with legends in the genre such as Court Gentry(The Gray Man) by Mark Greaney and Victor the Assassin by Tom Wood, but Hayes still has a long way to go and a wide room for the character to develop in the succeeding books in this series.
It’s not a real Ludlum book as the legendary author is long dead and has left his classic thrillers to be read for ages. This is a book for the fans of Joshua Hood, who’s an amazing author in his own right in his sub-genre of smart, intense, brutal, and darkly serious action thrillers. While it’s set in the larger Ludlum-verse, The Treadstone Resurrection can be read as a starting point for the 3.0 reboot for the literary Ludlum-verse which has Brian Freeman’s Jason Bourne books running parallel with no major connections. All serious action thriller fanatics will happily be devouring Joshua Hood’s Treadstone series books like a narcotic substance for a long time.