I love books with international spy intrigue. I have wanted to try a Brad Thor thriller and Near Dark was available.
I swear I am 100% impulse reading – not even mood – just pure impulse reading this month. I saw the famous French cathedral on the cover and said “ok, that will be cool”!
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: Near Dark
- Series: Scot Harvath #19
- Author: Brad Thor
- Publisher & Release: Atria, July 2020
- Length: 349 pages
- Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⚡ I’m willing to talk but it didn’t work as a standalone
Here’s the synopsis:
Scot Harvath returns in the newest thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Brad Thor.
The world’s largest bounty has just been placed upon America’s top spy. His only hope for survival is to outwit, outrun, and outlast his enemies long enough to get to the truth.
But for Scot Harvath to accomplish his most dangerous mission ever—one that has already claimed the lives of the people closest to him, including his new wife—he’s going to need help—a lot of it.
Not knowing whom he can trust, Harvath finds an unlikely ally in Norwegian intelligence operative Sølvi Kolstad. Just as smart, just as deadly, and just as determined, she not only has the skills, but also the broken, troubled past to match Harvath’s own.
– from GoodReads
So who put a 100 million dollar bounty and a pool of assassins after Harvath?
I have heard that the Scot Harvath books are excellent international spy thrillers. Unfortunately Near Dark is #19 in the series and while usually these types of books can be read as standalones, this one just didn’t work.
It is based very heavily on the events of the past few books, with TONS of recap. I think if I had read the prior books, the recap would be boring, and since I hadn’t, I had no clue what they were talking about. Also since I don’t know the characters that had died, all the grief and past recollections didn’t affect me.
Having read a few other reviews from long time series readers, I’m not too far off the mark there. Either way there was tons of intrigue and I think it would be worth trying prior novels in the series.
It also took a long time for Harvath to do anything exciting since he spent much of the book reeling from prior events and in hiding.
Once the action got going it does seem like Thor can write a good spy thriller. I liked Harvath and Sorvi, the Norwegian spy. These characters just kick ass and have some Bond-like qualities and sometimes that’s what books need. I liked that he went there with the torture and murders too.
My favorite side character was Nicholas the dwarf. A real dwarf isn’t something I see often in books and he was hilarious plus a brilliant hacker. Would love to go back and read the history there.
In short … I would start back at the beginning and try the first book in the series before judging too harshly. The recapped action sounded awesome but I can’t recommend these as standalones based off Near Dark.