BOOK REVIEW: SPREE (CODENAME: CHANDLER, #2)

Spree-JA-KonrathSPREE (Codename: Chandler, #2)

Author: J. A. Konrath and Ann Voss Peterson
Published on: November 27, 2012
Genre:
 Thriller

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

CODENAME: CHANDLER

After having her cover blown and risking everything to stop a nuclear Armageddon, covert operative Chandler figured she might have been shown some appreciation for the sacrifices she made. Instead, the very organization that trained her locks up Chandler’s sister, Fleming, for treason, intent on extracting every last scrap of information from her broken body and mind.

SPREE

Despite impossible odds, Chandler launches a desperate rescue mission, recruiting old allies (Jack Daniels and Harry McGlade, from Konrath’s novel Whiskey Sour), and new ones (Val Ryker and David Lund from Peterson’s Pushed Too Far, and Tequila Abernathy from Konrath’s Shot of Tequila) to break into a black site–an ultrasecret military prison on US soil where no one gets out alive. But standing in her way is a squad of deadly psychopaths and a rogue government agency determined to destabilize the nation–and conquer the world.

Buckle up. It’s going to be one hell of a ride…

REVIEW

Terrific. Electrifying. A stunning direct sequel to Flee.

Female superspy Chandler is back, and this time she’s launching a desperate rescue mission after saving someone who was believed to have been KIA. Chandler is also out to foil a plot unleashed by the most unlikely of enemies.

Unfortunately, saving the world did not mean medals for Chandler and her handler slash sister, Fleming. Both of them were captured in the previous book. Fleming is sent to a black site, a secret prison on U.S. soil. Desperate to save her sister from sure death, Chandler escapes from where she’s been held. She almost fails at doing this, which is surprising for such a highly-trained assassin. Chandler encounters another black ops agent who possesses a combat skill set that effectively nullifies her own. After plenty of struggle, Chandler manages to narrowly bail. Once out, Chandler enlists the help of a few interesting people. One of them is a guy named Tequila (apparently that’s his real name). He’s such an old, short chap that Chandler doubts his ability to help her. She gets her ass kicked by him for the assumption. In fact, surprising as it sounds Chandler kept losing fights during the first parts of Spree. How often do you see the likes of Batman losing a fight?

Chandler also runs into the help of a firefighter called Lund, who lives near the black site. The two fall for each other, but there are many obstacles standing in the way of a successful relationship between them. Chandler herself is an obstacle. She begins to feel that The Instructor has stripped her humanity, and for the first time wishes that she could be a normal person. Can a hitwoman like Chandler really settle down with a regular civilian, or will her past stand in their way?

Also returning to help is Jack Daniels, a skilled female cop who has helped Chandler in the past. It is interesting that the Codename: Chandler trilogy has characters from books by different authors. For me, that’s a first. I haven’t read any other books where that happens. Another character from another book that appears in Spree is Harry McGlade. He’s a private investigator, and is said to be perhaps the most offensive human being ever born. Rather than being unlikable, I found McGlade quite amusing. He spews insults all the time without it bothering him in the slightest. McGlade is one-of-a-kind, that’s for sure.

Hammett, who survived the events of the first book, is back for revenge. She has the same objective: to get Fleming out of the prison, but for different reasons. I should mention this novel has one of the most electrifying (literally) fight scenes I’ve read about or seen. Chandler’s clash against Hammett is pulse-accelerating, to say the least. Other fights were pretty awesome, including one where Chandler brings a knife to a balisong fight. She ends up being saved by a salamander. Cool. By the way, can you guess who Hammett hooks up with in Spree? The pair may be kindred spirits, given how unlikable they are.

Unfortunately, my opinion of Chandler was a bit tainted after the ending. She makes a tough decision that could bring hellish consequences, setting into motion the events of the last entry in the Codename: Chandler trilogy. Chandler was forced into it, though. After that, she will be in a much more dangerous position than she was in when her cover was blown in Flee. Chandler will go from being chased by dangerous assassins to being chased by more powerful people.

Spree is an excellent sequel to Flee, in much the way The Dark Knight topped Batman Begins. There’s so much action and suspense in this novel. Needless to say, I highly recommend it. Fans of Jason Bourne, James Bond, and spy novels will find this second entry in the Codename: Chandler trilogy immensely satisfying. This second installment also improves on the first in another way. Spree has chapters that you can navigate through. Not only that, some chapters start with a “nugget of wisdom” from The Instructor, the man who trained Chandler, Fleming, and Hammett. Some of those are quite witty.

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

MY RATING

Absolute must-read. It’s amazing!!!

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BUY THE BOOK

Amazon  |  Amazon UK  |  Barnes & Noble

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