Title: Black List
Author: Will Jordan
Publication Date: 10 August 2015
With no money, no prospects and a long list of computer crimes against his name, Alex Yates’s life is going nowhere until he is given a lucrative but dangerous offer – £100,000 to hack into the Central Intelligence Agency’s network and recover a file known only as the Black List. At first reluctant to get involved, the disappearance of an old friend leaves Alex with no choice but to return to a world he’d sworn to leave behind. But before he can unlock the secrets contained within the file, he suddenly finds himself the target of an nationwide manhunt. Someone wants him out of the picture fast.
Now plunged into a deadly race against time to recover the Black List, and hunted by police, intelligence operatives and a ruthless covert unit dispatched to take him down, Alex is left with no choice but to accept help from the violent and unpredictable woman who hired him. For in the Black List may lie his salvation, or his death…
Let me just begin this by saying that I am a big fan of Will Jordan and I absolutely loved his previous three novels. That is why I was a little disappointed when I originally found out that this book isn’t another Ryan Drake novel. Don’t get me wrong, I knew it would be good but Ryan Drake is such a great character and I had been patiently waiting for his next adventure.
However that disappointment did not last long at all. Within the first few pages of Black List I was hooked, just as I had been with all of Jordan’s previous work.
Black List follows on from the story set in Jordan’s Ryan Drake series through the eyes of Alex Yates, an English computer hacker. While trying to move on from his previous life as a hacker, Yates receives a USB stick from an old friend that puts him on the run from the CIA with only the mysterious Anya for company.
Black List is interesting because it builds on the story told through Jordan’s Ryan Drake novels without really featuring Drake himself. Instead this book builds on the story from the other side, by focusing on Jordan’s other main character Anya and her motivations for going against the CIA that she used to work for.
For me, the best feature of this book is the characters. Jordan had already created a range of great characters in his other books and he has added to that with Alex Yates. I really enjoyed the fact that Jordan was able to use an average person as the main character in a spy novel while still making the story feel realistic. While I started the book with disappointment, by the time I finished I was hoping that Jordan would use Alex Yates again in future books because I loved the character.
All the other features of a great spy thriller are there too. There’s a lot of action and the plot is gripping and fast-paced. There are twists to the story that I didn’t expect and the book ends on a cliffhanger that has me excited for the next book in the series. The only issue I have with the book is some of the dialogue. There’s nothing wrong with it, I just feel that sometimes Jordan overuses ellipses and it can make it a little jarring to read at times.
All in all, Black List is a great thriller that is a must read for all spy thriller fans. I really enjoyed it and I am looking forward to starting Jordan’s next Ryan Drake novel Deception Game which was released about a month ago. I can’t speak highly enough of Will Jordan’s writing as he is definitely someone that everyone should be reading.
Worth a read? Yes, it is definitely worth a read. If you haven’t read any of Will Jordan’s work then you are missing out. Black List is action-packed, fast-paced and well thought-out and if you enjoy Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, Brad Taylor or anyone else in the spy genre then you’re probably going to enjoy Will Jordan too.