The Nameless Dead – Paul Johnston

Release Date: 29th March, 2011.
Publisher: Harlequin. MIRA Books.
ISBN: 9780778329503


Crime writer Matt Wells hasn’t had much time for a career of late— he’s been too busy fighting for his life. And now he can’t trust anyone, not even himself. His thoughts are not his own—his subconscious has been infiltrated and a single word can trigger hidden orders buried deep within Matt’s memory, turning him into a killing machine.

The FBI aims him at the man responsible for his conditioning: an architect of Nazi revival and devotee of the Antichurch of Lucifer Triumphant. This man took Matt’s life away and must pay. Even in a nation rife with antigovernment paranoia and conspiracy theories, nobody could believe the things Matt has seen.

In a nation infected with trained assassins and ritual murderers, only he can piece together the truth and save the U.S. from impending disaster.

The premise of this novel appealed to me on a few levels. I loved the movie ‘The Manchurian Candidate’, and it reminded me of that in some ways. I love conspiracies and secrecy, threats on a national level. You know, all the good stuff that comes with a thriller. This book has all that, plus Nazi’s, Satanists, and quite a large cast of characters.

I didn’t know at the time that it was book #4 in a series. That said, it does a decent job of providing you with enough information on the many characters without going into information dump mode. I feel like I would have been more invested in this story if I had read the last three books though, and strangely found myself rooting for the Soul Collector – the woman who is trying to kill the main character – over the others.

At points I felt like there was too much going on in the story. So many characters, all of whom seemed to be making choices based on their core beliefs (which generally, I like in characters), and all with actions in their past which could be construed as making them ‘bad’ (which I also tend to like – black and white characters can be boring, give me those blurred lines, with characters not always making ‘good’ choices, thanks).

Because of this there doesn’t feel like a clear ‘bad guy’. The stakes didn’t feel high enough to me, despite the dangerous situations the characters find themselves in. The ‘impending doom’ is never really spelled out, or perhaps wasn’t concrete enough for me to feel really invested.

In any event, it was a well written novel, with good pacing and interesting characters. I enjoyed it, and firmly believe I would have enjoyed it more had I started at the beginning of the series and read through – there was enough in this book to make me keen to do that.


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