Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Jack Be Nimble Book 1: Gargoyle by Ben English

From the back cover:
     The boy came to her out of water, unexpected.  He was smart and strong and goofy,  as boys are meant to be, but peculiar - he remembered everything. 
     In the span of a single summer, she made him fearless.
     Now, even as Mercedes Adams is at the height of her career, forbidding changes loom over the world.  That night, in the hushed calm of a spring evening, two plain-faced killers watch her home, waiting to make their approach.
     A few hundred miles away, a brilliant technologist returns to his childhood home in order to begin a descent into darkness . . . in London, a military game theorist finds himself pursuing kidnappers . . . outside Prague, a hacker and a thief stumble upon plans for a weapon unique to the world . . . an FBI agent faces an unpredictable fugitive in Chicago, while in Germany, a sniper-turned-schoolteacher finds reasons to take up his ancient calling . . . and a sitting United States Senator finds his life and his work invaded to terrifying conclusion.  In Paris, a widowed man begins to recognize the hints and patterns of a greater puzzle that will bring them together . . . or kill them all.
     Mercedes Adams is about to find herself at the center of a vast, tightening knot of mystery, intrigue, and globe-spanning terror borne of her family's legacy.  Rising to her aid is a small group of specially-trained men and women.  And at their center? 
     A man who remembers everything.

From Heather:
 I read the first chapter of Gargoyle on Ben English's website ( and fell in love with the characters!  Jack especially!  I mean, who doesn't like a smart, funny, sexy leading man who can take out trained assassins and be so adorable with little children?!?

My only complaint (if you can call it a complaint!) is that the first half of the book is kind of confusing.  It needs to be, though.  I like how it's put on the back cover..."a vast, tightening knot" because that's exactly how it feels.  Each chapter is about a new person and situation and it's kind of hard to keep them all straight.  It was like starting a new book with every chapter.  BUT...!  It needed to be that way and as I read farther into the book and the characters all started coming together I could see the necessity of the individual threads.  And as the series continues (this is the first book of four, possibly five!) I think it will make more sense.

The writing is amazing.  He has some wonderful descriptions of each of the characters and you can really get a sense of their individuality and who they are.  He even takes us back in time to when some of the characters meet for the first time (I love when Jack and Mercedes meet!  It's so much fun!  Did I mention that I really, really like the main characters?!?)  Mr. English paints vivid pictures with his words and they are a joy to imagine!

I really enjoyed (but maybe didn't fully understand!) all of the technical details that make this novel stand out.  His descriptions of technology and weaponry and strategy really shine and, while this is not my usual genre, I found I was able to (mostly!) keep up with all of the details.  There were some really intense action scenes and Mr. English pulled them off masterfully!  I love Jack's group and how, the longer Major Griffin is with them, the more she appreciates their skills (of a Hollywood actor and his ratty accomplice).  It's awesome!

I would like to go back and read the first part of the book again, now that I know how all the characters fit together (well, most of them!)  And now that I care about the men on Jack's team a bit more.  I am anxious to see what happens in the next book and to read more about Jack and Mercedes.  (I hope they have more "screen time" together in the next book because they are adorable!)   I give the book 4 1/2 stars.  It's well written and engaging (especially after the first gains momentum and it's hard to put it down!)  The characters are interesting, the story wonderfully well done.

1 comment:

Misty Moncur said...

Good characters can really make a novel. I'd like to give this one a try. Thanks for the review!