tony mcmanus

On writing, writers, books and publishing.

Having read, and enjoyed, Eric J. Gates thriller, ‘Outsourced’, I could hardly wait to immerse myself in its sequel, ‘Primed.’ I was not disappointed.
It is a terrific read and opens with a bang. As was the case with ‘Outsourced’, the storyline, plot, is complex and demands a reader’s attention; fast read, page-flippers are advised to slow down. But the rewards are commensurate and worthwhile.
I was especially pleased to meet again that spirited lady, Major Bridget Mason; a female protagonist in a macho, male-dominated world is just so refreshing.
Recovering from injuries incurred in the climax of the previous book, Mason is placed on light duty, given a purported ‘easy task’ assisting an NYPD cop, a long, lean laconic fellow nicknamed ‘the Dane’. And the repartee and dialogue between these two are fascinating.
The duo is tasked with investigating the suspicious suicide of a government contractor. This leads to a confrontation with the villains of the story; the ‘Bratva’, the Russian mafia.
Villains are as important to any story as the good guys, a point many writers fail to grasp, but one Mr. Gates knows well. And what a superb, dirty finger-nailed bunch of characters his bad guys turn out to be. Hard bastards who enjoy their work. Tooled up, Spetsnaz trained, they are efficient, brutal, and pitiless in dealing with adversaries and threats to their territory.
On a lighter side, our two squabbling writer friends, Stiles and Beasley are back playing their parts. And though not seen and kept hidden in the background, the tantalizing and awesome ‘Pen’ is also back on the scene.
Though it’s a sequel, ‘Primed’ carries sufficient backstory to make it a stand-alone novel. Nevertheless, for greater enjoyment, I advise readers to pick up ‘Outsourced’ first and follow it with ‘Primed.’
‘Primed’ is pretty high octane stuff. A tight, gripping thriller with a plot that’s pure magic, sharp characters, great dialogue and written in Mr. Gates engaging, fluent and inimitable style. And I’ll wager that it’s not a sequel at all, but rather number II in a developing series. I do hope so if only to meet again the lovely Bridget Mason.
‘Primed’, a novel, gets my best compliment; I could read it again. Highly recommended. Thank you, Mr. Gates.

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