Published by Head of Zeus,
2 February 2021.
ISBN: 978-1-78954653-8 (HB)
“Hayes staggered down the hall, hand pressed tight over the bullet wound, blood seeping through his fingers like a bottle of spilled claret”
The Treadstone Exile by Joshua Hood is the second in his “Treadstone” series. Like the first book, The Treadstone Resurrection, it is inspired by Robert Ludlow’s Jason Bourne novels. Hood’s protagonist, Adam Hayes, is, like Bourne, an ex-CIA operative who has been through the top-secret Operation Treadstone and is programmed to kill. Hayes, after participating in numerous covert and unorthodox military enterprises, now seeks to atone for his bloody past. In the first book he promised his wife Annabelle and their three-year-old son Jack, that he would try to rehabilitate himself always knowing that his former life would be difficult to escape. He was right, those running Treadstone do not take kindly to losing one of their most proficient employees, and they have declared Hayes a persona non grata. As a result, he has been forced to leave both his family and his country until he can work out how to get home safely.
At the beginning of the novel, we find Hayes living and working in Africa where he uses his skills as a pilot and knowledge of geopolitics to fly charitable aid to those in peril in some of the world’s most dangerous places. His current project requires him to take much needed supplies to Burkina Faso. Needless to say, his attempts to do good are thwarted from the outset. Things go from bad to worse when he is forced to make a deal with Zoe Cabot, daughter of ruthless businessman Andre Cabot, in order to secure the plane needed to fulfil his mission. When Zoe is then abducted, he feels obliged to find and rescue her, but this pursuit places him in all kinds of danger, including from those who want to deprive the most impoverished communities of the funds they so desperately need.
The reader accompanies Hayes as he embarks on a high-octane journey through a beautiful but often heartbreakingly exploited continent. Not much goes according to plan in Hayes’s line of work as he negotiates a stream of small-time crooks as well as big-time villains. Hayes must contend with all kinds of corruption but shows more compassion to those who’ve been dealt a poor hand by fate than those who enjoy the best that life can offer and still bleed others dry.
The Treadstone Exile exposes
the impact of corporate greed and white-collar crime amongst the most
vulnerable communities on the planet. It is fast-moving and
relentlessly violent. Hayes is flawed but well-meaning. I
rooted for him from the very beginning as he kicked, punched and occasionally
shot his way through the novel. The book is well written and well researched
by the author who is a military veteran and brings his experience to the
text. Hood’s prose is succinct, fluent and seasoned with some
welcome wry humour. A great read and highly recommended.
Reviewer: Dot Marshall-Gent
Joshua Hood graduated from the University of Memphis before joining the military and spending five years in the 82nd Airborne Division, where he was team leader in the 3-504 Parachute Infantry Regiment. In 2005, he was sent to Iraq and conducted combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2005 to 2006, and from 2007 to 2008 he served as a squad leader in the 1-508th Parachute Infantry Regiment and was deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. Hood was decorated for valor in Operation Furious Pursuit. He is currently a member of a full time SWAT team in Memphis, Tennessee, and has conducted countless stateside operations with the FBI, ATF, DEA, Secret Service, and US Marshals.
Dot Marshall-Gent worked in the emergency services for twenty years first as a police officer, then as a paramedic and finally as a fire control officer before graduating from King’s College, London as a teacher of English in her mid-forties. She completed a M.A. in Special and Inclusive Education at the Institute of Education, London and now teaches part-time and writes mainly about educational issues. Dot sings jazz and country music and plays guitar, banjo and piano as well as being addicted to reading mystery and crime fiction.
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