Chris Holm was faced with a task both enviable and daunting in equal measures. Writing a follow-up to a critically-acclaimed series debut such as The Killing Kind was never going to be easy. Think of it as similar to the pressure on the creators of one of those heavily anticipated movie sequels after it has been announced for a coveted summer blockbuster release date. Fortunately, with Red Right Hand, Chris Holm is up to the challenge and manages to thwart any “second book blues” by crafting another original and exciting novel that also happens to be completely different from its award-nominated predecessor.
Michael Hendricks is back and he is still reeling from the events that occurred in The Killing Kind. But when an explosion rocks the base of the Golden Gate Bridge, there is no time for equivocation. Thought to be the actions of the True Islamic Caliphate, this terrorist attack has the whole world watching.
Accidentally caught up in this activity is Frank Segreti, a man everyone thought was long dead. A witness in a major Federal case, now that Frank’s location is known, only Mike Hendricks can keep him safe. Forced to choose between continuing to hunt the Council (the secret organization threatening those closest to him) and helping the government protect this vital witness presents a difficult quandary for Hendricks, until he realizes that the two tasks may not be mutually exclusive.
Joining Hendricks in his pursuit is Rosalind Cameron, the daughter of a previous client. Cameron is a blend between Lisbeth Salander and Lara Croft, but with the sensitive soul of a Reese Witherspoon character. Knowing that she is not one to be ignored, Hendricks has the added challenge of keeping Cameron safe while not underestimating her strength and skills.
As with The Killing Kind, Chris Holm jumps into the story quickly, barely letting readers breath between action set-pieces. His use of shorter chapters and limited exposition only add to this propulsion. Holm writes cinematically, painting familiar scenes in the reader’s mind while never straying into predictability. There are many characters in Red Right Hand, but even the most common of them avoid being stereotypical.
Chris Holm is a master at finding the median between a hard-edged thriller and a dramatic novel that touches the heart. Treading this line is tough – the potential risk of alienating one of these reader groups or the other lies at every junction – but Holm instinctively knows when to dodge right instead of left. Both sets of readers are in on the game and exposure to something different makes them all more well-rounded individuals.
Based on Red Right Hand, Hendricks is poised to join characters like Jack Reacher, Harry Bosch, and Spenser on reader’s must-buy lists for years to come. There is no denying Chris Holm’s talent, so resistance is futile. Don’t make him send Hendricks around to your house.
Disclaimer: A print galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.