False Flag: A Frank Bowen Conspiracy Thriller, Book 1 (Unabridged)
by Jay Tinsiano
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1991: A plan to destabilise Hong Kong is emerging; the key players are being put into place, the wheels are in motion and innocent people will die. Frank Bowen is a Londoner on holiday in tropical Thailand. Half drunk and strapped for cash, he’s the perfect bait for a political plot that will leave him running for his life, with nowhere to turn. An international conspiracy thriller by Jay Tinsiano, False Flag spans South-east Asia, with twists and turns that leave every character in question.
All in all I would recommend this for someone who is new to thrillers
False Flag was a genre within a genre for me. While I do enjoy thrillers immensely I haven’t actually read (or listened to) a political conspiracy thriller. So I was very excited.
Frank, who just broke up with his girlfriend and has a bit of a dark history, decides to take off on holiday, presumably to discover himself, and lands up in Goa, a beach resort, in India. Here he meets a couple of unsavoury characters who seem thoroughly innocent at first but are actually pawns in the game of Xiangqi. He does what any innocent tourist would do, he gets recommendations from other tourists and locals at each destination and following these leads gets him into a world of trouble.
A bomb goes off, another bomb goes off, a man is dead and he’s on the run. I didn’t enjoy the story up until this point. From here on it got a little exciting and eventful.But it picks up after he gets into Bangkok.
The beginning parts of this book felt like an elaborate background painting with no exciting additions to keep the reader thrilled. While the author hints at a past for Frank his interactions with his friends seems forced and it feels as though it has been dragged a little too much to create a reason for him to be running away from something that isn’t specified. Also, the locales should have been further explored. As someone who has been to Goa often it felt like the author hadn’t exploited the location as well as he could have. Once Jimmy comes into the picture though, it moved quickly and kept on the same way till about half an hour from the end.
After it picks up the author manages to maintain a fast pace, keeping you on your tiptoes and waiting to see how everything unravels. The only gripe I have is that it was rather obvious midway who the culprit was. The point of a mystery thriller is to keep things mysterious and it wasn’t as mysterious as I had hoped it would be. I won’t say who it is, listen for yourself to find out.
Now about the narrator, Chris MacDonnell, whom I did not enjoy. I’m someone who likes the age of the narrator to sound like the age of the main character. The narrator sounds very old and it did not suit this book. It felt like he would do a better job of narrating a book like The English Patient or maybe a non fiction about history. Because of this certain parts felt awkward and uncomfortable.But the audiobook production seemed smooth and was comfortable on the ears.
All in all I would recommend this for someone who is new to thrillers. If you are a seasoned reader you might not enjoy this as much.
Audiobook provided for review by the publisher.
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