No Way To Die by Tony Kent #BookReview #BlogTour

A deadly threat. A ghost from the past. And time is running out… 

When traces of a radioactive material are found with a  body in Key West, multiple federal agencies suddenly descend on the scene. This is not just an isolated murder - a domestic terrorist group is ready to bring the US government to its knees. 

The threat hits close to home for Agent Joe Dempsey when he discovers a personal connection to the group. With his new team member, former Secret Service agent Eden Grace, Dempsey joins the race to track down the bomb before it’s too late. But when their mission falls apart, he is forced to turn to the most  unlikely of allies: an old enemy he thought he had buried in his past. 

Now, with time running out, they must find a way to work together to stop a madman  from unleashing horrifying destruction across the country. 

I'm thrilled to be hosting the blog tour for No Way To Die today. Huge thanks to Tony Kent, Elliott & Thompson and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me and for my copy of the novel.

The slightly altered world in No Way To Die finds this USA apparently coming out of the Covid-19 lockdown in far better shape than the real country. This President surrounds himself with the best, taking notice of the advice give to him and subsequently reacted swiftly and decisively; as a result, the infection and death rates were kept well below the global average - and the President won his second term by a landslide. Not everybody is enamoured with the man in charge, however, and this strikingly contemporary thriller examines a scenario that events in recent times suggest is unsettlingly possible.
The murder of a time-served patrolman in Key West is a senseless tragedy and the local law enforcement are determined that justice will be served. However, homicide investigator Sergio Vega is surprised to find federal agents at the murder site. Tony Kent has already shown us some of what happened to Ricardo Garcia but it quickly becomes obvious that his death is just the beginning of something much bigger.
No Way To Die is the fourth novel in the Dempsey and Devlin series but Michael Devlin only features by mention here and this is Joe Dempsey's book. He's not introduced to proceedings from the start, though and this allows a number of other characters to make their mark - not an easy task with such a charismatic main protagonist but it's clear throughout that the development of his characters is a vital consideration for Tony Kent. This isn't the almost superhuman hero single-handedly saving the day, with the rest of the cast little more than cannon fodder. It's a beautifully rounded ensemble piece and while the plot is blisteringly exciting, it also packs quite the emotional punch at times too.
Joining Dempsey on his mission to save the country from a devastating attack by a powerful right-wing conspiracy terrorist organisation are a trio of women whose presence is welcomed and applauded in a genre which can sometimes be rather male-dominated. It's particularly refreshing to note that the three are distinct from one another but also not just shoved in as little more than male characters given a woman's name. Their strengths and weaknesses are varied and believable. Eden Grace was introduced in the previous novel, Power Play and she makes a welcome return here. Her interest in the boss who has become her advisor and friend, allows new readers to learn a little about the enigmatic Dempsey, a man who is clearly troubled by his past but resolute enough not to let it stop him doing what needs to be done now. It means the book can easily be enjoyed as a standalone, although there are some faces from the past whose appearance will mean more to returning readers. The pair make an excellent partnership and while he is obviously a highly skilled and experienced mentor, her intelligence and clear-headed perceptiveness makes her an important asset.
Meanwhile Bambi O'Rourke has an interesting name and an intriguing personality. She's a Special Agent with Homeland Security and there is no doubt that this middle-aged black woman is in charge. She knows that she has paved the way for others like her to follow and she commands the room with her words rather than her physical presence. I loved this steadfast yet very human addition to the cast; she is authoritative yet has a sense of humour, and a vulnerability which she keeps hidden but which makes her all the more impressive. Meanwhile, Agent Nikki May isn't just the token attractive woman brought along for the ride and her interventions are just as integral to proceedings as the decisions made by more experienced personnel. 
The race against time ensures tension levels are constantly headed towards boiling point and the chapters which follow the villains of the piece ensure readers are slightly ahead of Dempsey and co - and it's an uncomfortable place to be. We don't see the whole picture but we are given the sense that this is a well-planned and ruthless operation which is designed to make maximum impact. Of course, you only have to spend a short time on social media or see the various protests around the world to understand that the mandates that have accompanied the pandemic have angered many people. Tony Kent examines what could happen to those radicalised by the conspiracy theorists here, and it's a frightening prospect which almost certainly isn't too far from reality. 
One of the strengths of this series is that while it's obviously fiction, it doesn't take too much of a stretch to consider that some of the choices made behind closed doors - whether in governments or by those who oppose them - are terrifyingly plausible. No Way To Die is exactly what I want in a political action thriller;  the breathtakingly tense storyline had my heart racing throughout and the intelligent, complex exploration of modern politics made me perhaps even more nervous. With a sense of place that thrust me right into the heart of the action, No Way to Die has a cinematic quality which means it's crying out to be turned into a movie or television series. An outstanding thriller, then and a book which should firmly cement Tony Kent as one of the best in this genre. Very highly recommended.

No Way to Die is published by Elliott and Thompson, purchasing links can be found here but please support independent bookshops whenever possible.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author
Tony Kent is a 40-year-old criminal barrister who draws on his legal experience to inspire and bring unusual accuracy to his thrillers. Long ranked as a ‘leader in his field’, Tony has prosecuted and defended the full range of criminal trials. He now specialises in the defence of serious crimes such as murder, kidnap, armed robbery, extortion and high-value fraud. A regular at London’s Old Bailey, Tony’s case history includes many high-profile, nationally reported trials. Before his legal career Tony represented England as a heavyweight boxer and won a host of national amateur titles.


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