Thursday, 1 August 2019

KILL CODE by Clive Fleury #RBRT

3.5 out of 5 stars

On Amazon UK
On Goodreads

How I discovered this book: it was submitted to Rosie's Book Review Team, of which I am a member.

In a Nutshell: Climate change, dystopian, set on the west coast of the US 

At some time in the relatively near future, climate change has affected the world in such a way that those who can afford good food and fresh water live in protected zones, with the majority of the population struggling to survive.  Hogan Duran is a former cop scratching a living, until he is given the opportunity of a lifetime with the NSC - the all-powerful National Security Council.  

I loved the first 40% of this book.  The world-building was terrific, and I was engrossed.  When Hogan gets his life-changing opportunity, he and many other candidates are put through a 'last man standing' series of tests, which was also a real page-turner; this part was great, original and gripping.  Later, there is a jaw drop of a twist when he discovers that his experiences are not as they seem....

The second half of the book is mostly taken up with action scenes and daring escapes, as some of supposed 'goodies' come up against the Krails, a rebel biker gang.  Here, I found that my interest wandered; I rarely find that action in books works anything like as well as it does on screen; there is too much explanation of 'this happened then that happened', and much of it seemed like the stuff of superheroes rather than a man who has been undernourished for years.  I was also unconvinced by the escape in the last third of the book, when the all-seeing people in charge suddenly seemed not so all-seeing after all, enabling Duran and his friends to do all they did.

I thought the characterisation of Duran was extremely well done in the first half of the book; I could really see him.  However, I often find in action books written by men that the women are just men with a female name, or a one-dimensional kick-ass heroine fantasy who is naked as often as the story will permit; Ruby was never more than a word on a page for me.  Also, the plot delves in and out of virtual reality, which was sometimes confusing.  

I liked the ending, and may possibly check out the next in the series because I like the premise, but I'd have preferred it if the book had concentrated more on the characters and less on the outlandish action plot of the second half.


  1. I was intrigued by the first part of this book, based on your comments, and thought I would read it - until I got to what you wrote about the rest. I love your reviews, Terry, because they are honest and balanced between the good and the not-so-good. I'll be interested to see your review if you check out another of this author's books.

    1. Thank you, Noelle! Reviewing is always so difficult, isn't it? My main aim is to show a potential reader what a book is actually like... because things that I am not so sure about might not matter to other readers. I may read another one, but it's not on my immediate TBR.