Review of “Bloody Sunday” by Ben Coes

“Bloody Sunday”, by Ben Coes is a very well-written 2018 thriller about a superhero, Dewey Andreas, who is tasked with trying to assassinate a top general in the North Korean military. In the middle of this operation, the hero manages to inject himself with some of the poison intended for his target. This starts a ticking clock scenario.

This was the first book by Ben Coes that I read. Coes’ protagonist, is an interesting character: a CIA operative who seems to have an unlimited level of endurance and resilience. He is also very slightly flawed. He drinks too much, and he even manages to inject himself with poison during a very unlikely operation against a North Korean general. Things get even crazier after that. Dewey Andreas does the impossible in just about every chapter. He even makes periodic quips when he is in the middle of an operation. I have seen other authors try this, but Coes does it very well. The author layers a very clever sense of humor throughout this novel. Beginning with his backstory in which the author summarizes some of Dewey Andreas’ prior exploits in a few short paragraphs, the reader gets an idea as to what to expect. To me, the backstory came off as slightly unbelievable and somewhat humorous. I believe the author intended this atmosphere of light humor throughout the novel. I found that to be the best part of the novel. It is a lot more clever than just non-stop action.  Coes  writes excellent non-stop action, however, and if non-stop action is your thing, “Bloody Sunday” will make you very happy. If you approach “Bloody Sunday” as fantasy and a fun thrill-ride, you will enjoy this book very much. Dewey Andreas is a little too capable for my taste, but his adventures make great fantasy.

I believe a reader would enjoy this novel more if they had read some earlier entries in the Dewey Andreas series. Also, I was wondering about Dewey Andreas’ drinking. It seemed heavy to me and it didn’t really seem to have much to do with the plot, at least in this novel. His drinking certainly didn’t interfere with his combat skills. There was also a subplot about a strong female character in “Bloody Sunday” that seems to lead into the next book. I usually view lead-ins like this as an unpleasant but frequently used marketing technique to generate interest in the next book. I understand the need to do this, but I felt this particular subplot did not add much to this story and did not pique my interest for the next novel. My criticisms are small, however, and a reader looking for a fun thrill-ride with a very effective ticking clock with an overlay of light humor will thoroughly enjoy “Bloody Sunday”.

I read this as the result of a NetGalley offer. I will place a version of this review in NetGalley and Goodreads.

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