Tropical jungle

Crisis by Frank Gardner

“A spectacular thriller where the stakes couldn’t be higher and one that will leave you breathless”

Genre: Thriller


In the Colombian jungle, a body is found. A man in his forties has been stabbed and his right ear removed. In his pockets are a blood-stained notebook and a British passport. That much the local police know. What they don’t know is that Jeremy Benton worked for the British Secret Intelligence Service. And his murder is going to trigger a crisis. MI6 need someone on the scene and fast. Ex-SBS commando and now under short-term contract to SIS, Luke Carlton steps off a plane in Bogotà and into a world of trouble. Because one of South America’s most powerful and ruthless drug barons is bent on destroying everything – and everyone – Luke holds dear. Unless Luke gets to him first, all Hell is going to break loose…

Why I love it

It’s been a while since I’ve read a thriller that has been as tense as this; I was on the edge of my seat with anticipation and the chapters are nice and short, which add to that feeling of suspense. There were sessions where I’d sit down to read, and before I knew it I realised I’d read nearly 100 pages – the plot is that good. It sucks you into this world of (inter)national security, espionage, and the threat of a major terrorist attack and leaves you feeling breathless. Gardner’s writing is so easy to read; he explains security jargon enough for you to understand, but not too much that you feel like you’re bogged down with it and it detracts from the action.

Luke is a reasonably fleshed out protagonist and there’s a good amount of personal history detailing his time in the Royal Marines and his childhood. It would perhaps have been better to delve a little deeper into his character with the use of first-person narration, but that’s just my personal preference when reading a thriller. It’s still a cracking read. There’s always this niggling question of what really happened to Luke’s parents and I wondered if this would eventually come to the fore of the plot of either this book or its sequel, Ultimatum.

I loved the South American setting where some of the action takes place. I felt completely immersed in the jungle with the tropical heat, intense rain, and buzzing mosquitoes. The final 20 chapters were so tense. I could literally feel how tense I was sitting in my chair and how raised my heartbeat was. It’s so nerve-wracking as you watch the number of pages to the end of the book dwindle, and the shortness of the chapters just escalates the suspense that bit more.

Overall, Crisis is a spectacular thriller where the stakes couldn’t be higher and one that will leave you breathless. With a likeable protagonist and easy-to-read narration, I couldn’t put this book down.

Why you should read it

This is a thriller of a different kind, not so much a detective murder/mystery, more of a book for fans of James Bond, Jason Bourne and Frederick Forsyth. If you enjoy tense thrillers that take an international espionage perspective, you’ll love this one.

Rating: 5/5

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