A while ago, when first writing this blog, I reviewed The Samaritan, Mason Cross's second outing for his hero, Carter Blake. I gave that book three out of five stars. It wasn't that I didn't like it exactly, it was well written, the character was likeable enough. I just didn't take with the whole serial killer story. Serial killers to me are just a bit dull, they've been done to death (excuse the dire pun).
But unlike others I given a lukewarm review to, the author Mason Cross actually responded. And he was really...nice about it. Oh the guilt! But then along came The Time to Kill (originally titled Winterlong) and I borrowed a copy from NetGalley. But I always regretted not reading book number 1, The Killing Season, so what to do? Well I quickly bought a copy of book number 1 and stared reading. And wow. It was great! The whole sniper on the rampage through America had me on the edge of my seat and while I suppose that classifies as a serial killer it was pretty darn original in a going-back-to-basics, none of this carving people up in exotic ways kinda thing.
When I originally reviewed book number 2 I suggested the author make more of his hero's military past, that perhaps he have him go up against his former comrades-in-arms. I don't want to claim credit for the plot of The Time to Kill, perhaps it’s just a case of great minds thinking alike (yes, I did just describe myself as a "great mind") but that's just what Mason Cross does. The Time to Kill sees Carter Blake being hunted by his former special forces unit who now worry that he'll prove an embarrassment, and more to the point, that he will divulge their murkier secrets.
The Time to Kill is a roller coaster ride of tension, a great read that touches on geo-political issues and the war on terrorism while delivering a darn good yarn. On the basis of this and book 1 (book 2 just not being my cup of tea, though as I say, there was nothing wrong with the writing) Mason Cross is certainly somebody who's writing I will watch out for.
5 out of 5 stars