Backtrack by Jason Dean

Backtrack by Jason Dean

Sometimes a man must take a step back to move forwards…

In a small, sleepy Pennsylvania town, the staff of a loan store find themselves at the mercy of a gunman who demands they hand over the store’s entire cash reserves. But when the sound of police sirens shatters the silence sooner than expected, the robber is forced to take a young female customer hostage in order to make his escape.

Former Marine James Bishop is no stranger to being on the wrong side of the law. Finally a free man, with his name cleared, he has the chance to get his life back on track. But as he flees the scene of the hold-up with his terrified hostage, he once again finds himself a wanted man…

Prison can change some people. But has it changed James Bishop?

One of the things that drew me to Jason Dean’s Backtrack was the obvious similarity between Jack Reacher and James Bishop, the protagonists from Lee Child and the aforementioned Jason Dean. Although both characters are ex-military, formidable action figures and set out to right the wrongs helping the innocent as they go about their daily chores, they are both very different.

The second in a new action thriller series – I’ve not read Dean’s first novel – James Bishop as a character shows a great deal of promise. I enjoyed his development in Backtrack, his back story and his no nonsense approach towards the case in hand. Armed with an enviable maverick attitude he moves from town to town trying to solve the problem of a missing woman he feels responsible for. Clues surface one by one, each leading to a new discovery and a new path to investigate, there are few quiet moments in this book and when they eventually come along Dean handles them well. Let’s face it we are all here for the action!

A typical action thriller it finds Bishop fighting for his life on numerous occasions, justifying his actions to those who will listen. The one thing I did enjoy about Bishop was his preparedness to involve others in his investigation. No man can go it alone all the time and this is where I though the author got his character right. There is the obvious air of incredulity from time to time but this happens in most books of this genre. You have to suspend belief and just go with the flow; it certainly makes for a more enjoyable read and allows you to enjoy Bishop’s journey that much more.

The narrative is a mixed bag for me. The book certainly flows well and Backtrack is a very quick and enjoyable read but there were a few moments, a few passages, where I became a little confused and unconvinced with the phrasing the author uses. I can’t quite put my finger on it but there’s certainly something nagging at the back of my mind! Every now and then I’d have to stop and really think how the author delivers certain passages but I am being hyper critical in an otherwise accomplished book.

From beginning to end this well thought out storyline moves at a frenetic pace which allows the book to be a veritable page turner. Although not the sort of book you don’t know who the villains are there a few surprises in store and complete with a few twists and turns along the way it does throw up a few interesting curves. Dean wraps up the ending well and it certainly fits in with the book as a whole, I certainly turned the final page satisfied.

An enjoyable read I’m eager to see where Bishop goes next, I will certainly read his next adventure for Bishop is a character that deserves to be read.

Backtrack is currently available to buy in Hardback and Ebook formats.

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (17 Jan 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755383079
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755383078
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