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August 10, 2019

Goodbye Paris by Mike Bond ~ a Review

by MK French

Pono Hawkins was planning to surf and smoke joints in Tahiti, but his old Special Forces buddy calls him for help. The terrorist that had tortured them in Afghanistan seems to be alive after all, and is in Paris with a backpack bomb, heading for the Eiffel Tower. When Pono arrives in Paris, however, they can't meet; his friend was abducted, and then his friend's wife the next day. He knows that they're on the clock, and his efforts are stymied at almost every turn by intelligence agencies and politics.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

June 2019; Big City Press; 978-1949751024
audio, ebook, print (376 pages); thrillers
Mike Bond had written other novels with Pono Hawkins that are alluded to in the beginning, but I hadn't read those. His background is explained but doesn't quite feel like an info dump. Pono is half Hawaiian and starts off in Tahiti nearly drowning when a wave wipes him out in Tahiti. This naturally leads him to think about his life so far, as well as what he had thought he would do before it had fallen apart. He waxes rhapsodic about Paris, interspersed with memories of his past traumas (Special Forces training, tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, imprisonment in Fort Leavenworth and then in Hawaii for possession of marijuana). As much as he really doesn't want to be involved with the CIA or its French equivalent, the idea of Mustafa still around and bombing innocents, particularly after the Notre Dame burning down was rumored to be due to terrorist involvement, Pono can't help but go to Paris. Once he does, it's nonstop movement and action, with a hefty dose of political blame, militant Muslim terrorists coming into the country to kill everyone that doesn't believe the exact same form of Islam that they do, and the willingness to kill and torture anyone that looks like they can get in the way.

Chapters are short and the language is punchy and to the point, with little description for large swaths of the story. In the few slower sections, we do get some descriptions of the countryside, but for the most part, the book moved at the frenetic pace of political thrillers. The relationship between Pono and Anne felt sudden and adrenaline-fueled, not one where there is an emotional connection. It's almost like he says "You wanna?" and then when bullets are flying and agencies are pulling strings, she shrugs and goes "Why not?" Sex isn't explicitly described, but it's there and crops up when I least expect it. Torture flashbacks aren't as heavily detailed either, and the suffering that Mack and Gisèle endure are mentioned without fanfare or excessive description. It's a bleak enough outlook as it is, I'm thankful I didn't have to read torture porn in the middle of it.

If you're interested in contemporary political thrillers, this definitely fits the bill and will grab your attention and keep it there.

Buy Goodbye Paris at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

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