My last read of May was The Gatekeeper by James Byrne! Thanks so much to Minotaur Books for the ARC, and I also received an advanced listening copy so I will be reviewing both here! All opinions are my own!
This is what I like in a summer read – nonstop action, banter, entertaining main characters, over the top fight scenes, a few laughs thrown in, and a plot that is easy enough to follow without burning all the brain cells trying to keep up. Plausible, nah, but entertaining as heck – 100%.
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: The Gatekeeper
- Series: ?
- Author: James Byrne
- Publisher & Release: Minotaur Books, June-07-2022
- Length: 336 pages
- Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨ for anyone who likes thrillers like Evanovich or Orphan X
Here’s the synopsis from GoodReads:
James Byrne’s The Gatekeeper introduces Dez Limerick in the most anticipated new thriller in years.
A highly trained team of mercenaries launches a well-planned, coordinated attack on a well-guarded military contractor – but they didn’t count on one thing, the right man being in the wrong place at the right time.
Desmond Aloysius Limerick (“Dez” to all) is a retired mercenary, and enthusiastic amateur musician, currently in Southern California, enjoying the sun and sitting in on the occasional gig, when the hotel he’s at falls under attack. A skilled team attempts to kidnap the Chief legal counsel of Triton Expeditors, a major military contractor – in fact, Petra Alexandris is the daughter of the CEO – but their meticulously-planned, seamlessly executed scheme runs into the figurative ‘spanner-in-the-works,’ Dez himself.
After foiling the attack, and with nothing better to do, Dez agrees to help Alexandris with another problem she’s having – someone has embezzled more than a billion dollars from her company and left very few tracks behind. But Dez is a gatekeeper – one who opens doors and keeps them open – and this is just a door of another kind. And the door he opens leads to a dangerous conspiracy involving media manipulation, militias, an armed coup, and an attempt to fracture the United States themselves. There’s only one obstacle between the conspirators and success – and that is Dez, The Gatekeeper.
The book introduces Dez in a mercenary operation that is apparently his last. Retiring to California, he coincidentally ends up in a hotel where he foils a kidnapping plot that is only the tip of the iceberg of issues he is about discover.
The plot is definitely not plausible and at no point did I think that the bad guys were going to win, but it was certainly entertaining to get there. America at this time can definitely relate to white supremacy and big money companies with big egos so I don’t think it’s too far off from reality. I got immense satisfaction out of Dez making quite a few of these people look like complete idiots.
Dez is never fleshed out but he’s by far the highlight of the book. A tactically well rounded character, he can hack and set traps and fight. He is built like a truck, funny, and absolutely kick ass. I loved his Brit/Scottish accent and all his quirks.
Petra is the female lead, a force of nature as well. I loved seeing her dress down her father and the other power players. There are a few other female characters that are brave and badass too, in unconventional ways. Another favorite side character was a personal assistant named Alonzo!
I think the place where I docked half a star was that some of the descriptions of both Dez and Petra became repetitive without telling us anything new. I don’t come to thrillers for character development but it would have been good to have some indication of where Dez came from, although I appreciate the mystery as well.
I also had a chance to hear John Keating narrate the audio! I read and listened about 50/50 to review both fairly and I think he did a phenomenal job, especially with Dez and his cutaway “sorry!”. Sometimes accents are hard or make it difficult to understand the narrator but I found key thing to be clear and consistent in all voices. I did have to raise the speed to 1.5 in order to make it sound like a human but I am totally okay with a narrator speaking slowly in order to enunciate.
The end left it open for more Gatekeeper books too so – hopefully! I definitely recommend this one for people who enjoy fast-paced action-packed thrillers that don’t take themselves too seriously!