37 hours – J. F. Kirwan

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

37 hours

Blurb: The only way to hunt down a killer is to become one…

After two long years spent in a secret British prison, Nadia Laksheva is suddenly granted her freedom. Yet there is a dangerous price to pay for her release: she must retrieve the Russian nuclear warhead stolen by her deadliest enemy, a powerful and ruthless terrorist known only as The Client.

But her mysterious nemesis is always one step ahead and the clock is ticking. In 37 hours, the warhead will explode, reducing the city of London to a pile of ash. Only this time, Nadia is prepared to pull the trigger at any cost…

The deadly trail will take her from crowded Moscow to the silent streets of Chernobyl, but will Nadia find what she is looking for before the clock hits zero?

I was thrilled when the author contacted me about reviewing this novel, the second in his Nadia Laksheva thriller series, as I really enjoyed the first book.  I don’t often read thrillers, but 66 Metres was such an easy read and I really wanted to know what happened next with Nadia and the mysterious ‘Big Bad’ threat she had uncovered.

In 37 Hours the risk is elevated, the tension is ratcheted and the twists are numerous.  Nadia is deeper in the espionage world now and it shows:  double agents abound.  For Nadia the goal is again personal. ‘Family is the only thing worth killing for’.  For the rest of the world, including the reader, the threat is nuclear, imminent and terrifyingly realistic.

There is less diving minutiae in this book than its predecessor, although it does still make a few appearances  (it is the main character’s specialist skill after all).  Less technical information does make the action more easy to visualise for the layman, but I’m glad that some diving was still incorporated as I feel it makes this series stand out amongst other spy thrillers.  I particularly enjoyed the appearance of and education about sharks in this outing.

I was a touch disappointed in Nadia’s personal relationships in this novel, as I felt it unlikely that her experiences with Jake would have so thoroughly healed her sexual past as to make casual encounters possible.   But then I remembered the years of solitary confinement between books and gave the author a pass on that one!  I thought the various familial relationships, on the other hand, were very realistically handled:  after years of pain and anger I found it very plausible that in the moment those emotions could be subsumed by love, especially in the adrenaline rush of action.

I particularly like that the main antagonist remains the same in these novels, almost mirroring the protagonist in terms of luck, skill and determination to succeed. Mirroring was definitely part of the overarching themes here, especially when it comes to motivation: familial vengeance cropped up again and again with characters on both sides.

Overall this second novel was simply just as good a read as the first: fast paced, exciting and intriguing.  I think it is better read after 66 Metres as there is a lot of plot and characters development that occurred there which is then built on in this novel.  So there’s a good excuse to go out and buy TWO books instead of just one.  And the ending was only semi-resolved again, so there’s more to come…!

Of course there was the real reason. She was expendable.  Just released from a secret prison.  No one would mourn her except Katya.  But she had no intention of dying on her first day of freedom.

– J. F. Kirwan, 37 Hours

You can find J. F. Kirwan’s website here or contact him on Facebook or Twitter.

Check out my review of 66 Metres by J. F. Kirwan here.

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