Narrator: Macleod Andrews
Series: A Nick Foley Thriller #1
Published by Blackstone Audio Inc on 10 May 2016
Length: 10 hrs and 49 mins
Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Science Thriller, TechnoThiriller
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When ex-Navy SEAL Nick Foley travels to China to find purpose and escape the demons of his past, he instead stumbles into a conspiracy his Special Forces training never prepared him for. A mysterious and deadly outbreak ravages a remote area of western China, and Nick finds himself the lead suspect in a bioterrorism investigation being conducted by China's elite Snow Leopard counter-terrorism unit.
To clear his name and avoid prosecution, he must team up with beautiful Chinese CDC microbiologist Dr. Dazhong "Dash" Chen to find who is really behind the attack. As their investigation proceeds, their budding friendship is tested by nationalistic loyalties and suspicion.
In a race against time, Nick and Dash must risk everything to stop a mad man before he unleashes the world's next super-weapon in Beijing.
©2016 Brian Andrews and Jeff Wilson (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Beijing Red is the best new arrival in years for readers/listeners who like espionage and intrigue. If you like authors like Lee Child and Brad Thor, then Alex Ryan will be an author you need to check out. If the inevitable sequels are close to being as good as Beijing Red, this series will be awesome.
The synopsis available on Audible or Goodreads is sufficient and any more exposition may lead to spoilers. Just let me say that there is no boring or tedious parts to this excellent book. It immediately establishes a likeable protagonist, Nathan, with motivations that are easily understood, the plot is fast-paced, and the brown smelly stuff is hitting the spinning turbines very early in the story. It was a joy to hit play and let the roller coaster rocket down the hill as our intrepid hero tries to navigate the events and obstacles in this realistic story.
I do not know the author’s bio but, as a retired Navy veteran myself, his military references and inflections are spot on and authentic. Too many times, in this genre, authors will write of military experience and, if they don’t have the experience themselves, not have it proofread/fact checked by competent subject matter experts. I assure you that this is not the case with Beijing Red and I, for one, am grateful. It made an excellent novel even better and gave it a gravitas that is lacking in a lot of the genre. If I am nit-picking, Nathan is a little young at 28 for a former Navy Seal but it also allowed the author to give Nathan the innocence and inexperience that prevents him from simply being a bad-ass superman that powers his way through all obstacles like a Jet Li or Jason Stratham character. There was a certain amount of realism imposed by the author in that the hero is not simply shooting everyone in sight on his way to bed the female: he is an American in modern day China, can’t speak any of the various languages of China, and doesn’t have a knife, much less a gun. He is a foreigner in what is probably the most racist country in the world (the author doesn’t allude to this) and the author shows superior restraint and skill at not allowing our protagonist to simply go all Bruce Willis on the evil-doers’ asses.
The narration by MacLeod Andrews was professional and his skill as an experienced narrator shows. He gives a quiet, authoritative performance and displayed skill with the various foreign accents and genders. I never wondered who was speaking and appreciated his skill at pronouncing various difficult (for us Americans, at least) Chinese names and words. The audio production quality is top-notch, as I have come to expect from all Blackstone Audio productions.
Bottom Line: Beijing Red is an excellent audiobook and comfortably sits alongside the best Jack Reacher novels for fans of that genre. If you like your lone-wolf hero competent amid a fast-paced, well-written plot, then you owe it to yourself to check out Beijing Red.
I received a copy of Beijing Red, courtesy of Blackstone Audio and Audiobook Jukebox, in return for an unbiased review and it has no impact on my review, positive or negative.
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