Tag Archives: Court Gentry

‘On Target, by Mark Greaney

I’m grateful to my friend Mark for recommending Mark Greaney’s Gray Man series of thrillers. Thrillers aren’t usually my cup of tea, but these are very satisfying.

In the first book, The Gray Man, the hero, Court Gentry, was kind of a force of nature. Single-minded, relentless, highly skilled, this legendary assassin will let nothing stop him from completing a job – so long as he thinks the job is justified. No odds deter him, no setback dismays him, no injury stops him. It was very exciting, but a little fantastic. On Target, the second book in the series, mixes the formula up a little.

This time, Court has weaknesses. Still feeling some pain from the horrific injuries he suffered in The Gray Man, he’s gotten hooked on pain killers. He’s been reduced to taking work from a man he distrusts – a Russian who idolizes assassins. But the target is a “worthy” kill – the president of Somalia, a venal monster with the blood of thousands on his hands.

Only the game changes when one of his old CIA comrades contacts him. They know about the deal, and want Court to alter it somewhat. If he helps them kidnap the president, bring him out for trial, Court will be reinstated. The “Shoot On Sight” order that now stands against him will be revoked. He’ll be part of the team again.

How can Court say no?

In the days that follow, everything will go wrong. Court will be diverted on a quixotic detour to save a lady in distress. Friends will become enemies, and vice versa. Never has Court been so alone, in so much danger, so far from any help.

This book almost defines the phrase, “page-turner.”

The tension never lets up. This new, slightly vulnerable Court is more interesting than the earlier one. There’s considerable pathos in his constant fight, not only to survive, but to do what’s right – if he can just identify it among all the lies.

Highly recommended. Cautions for violence and language.

‘The Gray Man,’ by Mark Greaney

As hard to criticize as a roller coaster, and just about as true to life. That’s The Gray Man, by Mark Greaney.

A friend recommended the series, so I thought I’d give it a try. It’s a fun ride, and a nice time off for the critical brain.

Court Gentry is “The Gray Man,” a legendary contract assassin. Former US military, burned CIA operative, he now kills for hire – but never targets a man he doesn’t consider worthy of death (remember, this isn’t about realism). He never misses, and never gets caught. He is rarely even seen.

But now he’s a hunted man. A powerful African dictator wants him dead, and is offering both money and threats in exchange for his head (literally). A nefarious international security organization has pulled out all the stops, sending about twenty highly trained teams to hunt him down. If one can’t get him, another will. On top of that, they’ve kidnapped Court’s boss and his family, including his two granddaughters. To save his family, the boss will betray Court.

A sensible man would just go into hiding until it blows over – there’s a deadline. But Court isn’t like that. When the deadline passes, the granddaughters will be murdered. Court will not stand for that. He will traverse hundreds of miles, kill dozens of men, and sustain wounds that would stop or kill another man. But he will not fail in his rescue mission, even for the man who betrayed him.

As you can tell, this story is way over the top – the plot involves the kind of suspension of reason you usually find in action movies (I’m sure there’ll be a movie of this one). I didn’t believe the story for a second. But it was fun, like the aforementioned roller coaster. Pure entertainment, with rising tension and all the dramatic buttons pushed at precisely the right moments. For sheer action reading fun, it would be hard to beat The Gray Man.

I’ll probably read more. After all, my massive brain requires a rest now and then.