Review of “Agent in Place” by Mark Greaney

I really liked Mark Greaney’s “Agent in Place”, the 2018 installment of his “Gray Man” series. I generally don’t like the former Navy Seal, Green Beret, or Central Intelligence Agency superhero that has superhuman skills, a razor-sharp intellect, and a bit of an attitude, but Greaney’s “Gray Man” made me want to read more of these. The “Gray Man” is an assassin who sometimes works for the U.S. government and sometimes acts as a free-lancer if he is so inclined. The action takes place largely in France and Syria. The “Gray Man” is commissioned by a group of Syrian freedom-fighters to kidnap a fashion model in Paris. The “Gray Man” gets more deeply involved with the freedom fighters as the book progresses and encounters all manner of villains during his quest. Apparently the “Gray Man”, like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie “True Lies” only kills bad people. There are many bad people here. There are weapons galore, and much bloodletting, leading to what I have to admit is a very thrilling and satisfying climax.

I started off not wanting to like this book, but the “Gray Man” drew me into his world. I had to admire Greaney’s ability to craft a story which had a very satisfactory feeling. Greaney created a final scene that involved the expected amount of righteous violence. The interesting part of the final scene was the vicarious pleasure that I am almost ashamed to admit I felt at the conclusion of this book. I usually prefer more of an intellectual ending, but I really enjoyed this one. Greaney tapped into a fantasy that I didn’t realize I had. I am sure many other readers felt the same way. I do not want to spoil anything for future readers, but I really had fun with this one.

My only criticism is quite small. I believe Greaney relied a little bit too much on the assumption that a reader had read other “Gray Man” novels. I was not invested in this character at the beginning of the book and felt it to be very slow going. I almost put it down. Something turned me around midway through the book, and “The Gray Man” and I became friends. A reader can enjoy “Agent in Place” without having read any of Greaney’s other books, but the reader may not relate to “The Gray Man” in the first few chapters.  I will seek out his world in the future.

I borrowed this book from my local library, having seen it on a new book display. I’ll be back for more.

I also published this review in Goodreads.


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