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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
A Summer Storm: Escaping the Evil by Tony Knapp is a continuation of the story of covert operative Jason “Hawk” McCullough and his ongoing battle with the evil North Korean terrorist known as The Dragon. After a firefight with the Dragon’s men, when Jason and his dream woman Lizzie Locke saved the city from a terrorist attack, Jason was badly wounded and airlifted to hospital. His helicopter did not deliver him to the hospital, however, and when Jason finally awakens, he finds himself in the notorious North Korean internment camp known as Kwan-li-so 16. Back in the States, Lizzie and her fellow operatives, including FBI Agent Ryan Fletcher, are working desperately to discover where Jason and two other operatives are being held so they can launch a rescue mission but the Dragon’s fingers reach deep, even into the offices of Federal Law Enforcement. In the camp, Jason, tortured and stripped bare of all his humanity, struggles to survive, sustained only by the woman of his dreams and their shared vision of the “land called Honah Lee”. When Jason finds a “friend” in a North Korean officer, his plans of escape from the hellhole find purchase but can he trust this man, a nephew of the infamous Dragon himself. Hawk must decide if this is his and the two other Americans' only chance at escape. It could all be an elaborate trap but if they have any hope for their long-term survival, they must put all their faith in the Dragon’s nephew, Greg Ro.
A Summer Storm is a tense, exciting thriller that grips the reader from the beginning and takes them on an emotional rollercoaster that keeps them frantically turning pages to discover what happens next. Author Tony Knapp is clearly a master at building tension, suspense, and delivering exciting outcomes through his characters. Although this is part of a series, I can assure readers it is definitely not necessary to have read the preceding book to get total enjoyment from this story. It stands alone as an exciting spy/military thriller and the author does an exceptional job of filling in readers as to the backstory of the events portrayed in this novel. It is a substantial read that allows the author time to develop characters and imbue them with qualities readers will either love or hate, which is exactly what good writers seek to achieve. I particularly appreciated the author’s attempt to humanize, in some ways, the arch-villain, the Dragon. So often the villains in these thrillers are simply out-and-out evil and beyond understanding or redemption. The author does not pull any punches in his description of the horrors of the prison camp or the horrific human toll of firefights between combatants. This gives the entire narrative a powerful and realistic tone which is satisfying for readers. I am now invested in these characters and will certainly be keeping an eye out for the next installment which the author has promised. I enjoyed this book immensely and can highly recommend it.