BOOK REVIEW: FLEE (CODENAME: CHANDLER, #1)

FLEE (Codename: Chandler, #1)

Author: J. A. Konrath and Ann Voss Peterson
Published on: October 30, 2012
Genre:
 Thriller

Published by: Thomas & Mercer
Format:
E-book, paperback, Audible

CODENAME: CHANDLER

She’s an elite spy, working for an agency so secret only three people know it exists. Trained by the best of the best, she has honed her body, her instincts, and her intellect to become the perfect weapon.

FLEE

Then her cover is explosively blown, and she becomes a walking bulls-eye, stalked by assassins who want the secrets she holds, and those who’d prefer she die before talking.

Chandler now has twenty-four hours to thwart a kidnapping, stop a murderous psychopath, uncover the mystery of her past, retire five highly-trained contract killers, and save the world from nuclear annihilation, all while dodging 10,000 bullets and a tenacious cop named Jack Daniels.

Buckle up. It’s going to be one helluva ride.

REVIEW

Breathtaking. Phenomenal. Two thumbs up!

Wow! This was such a ride faster and more thrilling than a supersonic bullet! If you thought The Da Vinci Code was fast-paced, wait until you read FLEE! It’ll keep you on the edge of your seat.

FLEE‘s protagonist is an elite super-spy known only as Chandler. According to the book’s blurb, she works for a government agency so secret only three people know it exists (guess who they are? One obviously has to be the President, he knows everything or at least is supposed to). Chandler has been trained to the peak of human endurance and taught a wide array of skills, from martial arts to survival to picking locks and shooting footballs from a mile away. We meet Chandler just before her cover is blown. Things snowball quickly from there, and Chandler is soon unable to even count on her handler, who has overseen her every mission so far. Forced to operate on her own, Chandler flees from a group of dangerous assassins and a hungry-for-revenge psychopathic ex-con on a quest to find out why she’s being pursued. Along the way, Chandler will face surprises that even her highly extensive training didn’t prepare her for. The authors have cooked up such a very creative and unusual plot. I won’t even insert spoilers in this review, you’ve gotta experience this thrill ride for yourself.

Helping Chandler (or getting saved by her, that’s more like it) in this novel is her always-there handler/aide known as Jacob. Chandler has never met ‘Jacob’ face-to-face prior to this book. When she finally meets the person, Chandler will be in for one of the biggest surprises of her life. I think of Jacob as Chandler’s own Q, particularly the one in the Skyfall film. Jacob is revealed to be a computer genius, and apart from arming Chandler, Jacob is also the commander of Chandler’s missions. By the end of the book, I didn’t know who was more badass, Chandler or Q (oops, ‘Jacob’). Jacob’s idea of being inconspicuously armed is pretty cool, and funny (but not in a ha ha way).

We never get to learn Chandler’s real name, but she tells us about her training. My opinion of her is that she’s a really smart, fearless woman. She’s also quite resourceful and able to improvise on a pinch. Naturally, however, Chandler has some really deep trust issues. Gaining her trust is extremely, painstakingly tough, but being a handsome guy helps. Unfortunately, a particular guy stabs Chandler in the back (figuratively). I wouldn’t be surprised if gaining her trust is even harder by the end of the book. Underneath her tough-as-titanium exterior, however, Chandler has a soft and compassionate heart. She’s mentioned to have been second-best among her unit and tested the highest for ethics and morals.

FLEE also features characters from the authors’ other works. One of these is Jacqueline “Jack” (it’s strange for a woman to not mind being called a name that sounds like a guy’s, IMO) Daniels, a cop who becomes one of Chandler’s allies. The villain is someone whose skills are on par with (and may even surpass) Chandler’s. Will Chandler be able to thwart this person, despite the odds not looking good?

I didn’t find much to dislike about the book, despite trying. I’m not aiming to sound like a gushing fan just to get people to read Flee. Only, I thought that Chandler, even for a spy, may have been too quick to trust the paramedic guy. She also just kept coming back into action, despite the injuries she sustained. I know Chandler’s extremely well trained, but she’s no superhuman, she still needs rest now and then. Also, the lack of chapter division (and not much in the way of navigation on the Kindle) made it hard to get around the book.You may have to resort to placing bookmarks as makeshift chapter marks. There’s a new edition of Flee with another cover, but I don’t know if the issue has been resolved.

This explosive hit by J.A. Konrath and Ann Voss Peterson won’t disappoint you. The one-of-a-kind protagonist, Chandler, is so badass she blows away any other spy or secret agent not named James Bond. Okay, Marvel’s Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow is on par. Think of Chandler as a somewhat cute Black Widow (I wouldn’t call Romanoff cute). Fans of Jason Bourne, James Bond, and M:I will greatly enjoy this book.

This book is intended for mature audiences only due to explicit sexual content, intense violence, and moderate language.

MY RATING

A stunning page turner!

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BUY THE BOOK

Amazon  |  Amazon UK  |  Barnes & Noble

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