I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Thank you Bookouture and NetGalley for the ARC.
This is an action thriller that certainly attested to its genre. When I was reading Winter Rising, it was like I was watching an action movie that had mystery, action, and white-knuckling suspense. The prologue immediately gave me the chills with the following:
Instinct forced her body still, choked the scream rising up her throat. She froze, listening to the rustling in the trees, the far away traffic, the hammer, hammer, hammering of her heart. And something else. A sound like a blade on a whetstone. A slow rhythmic scrape.
*shiver* With that being said, the suspense seemed to dip after that as I discovered this it is definitely not a standalone book. I, unfortunately, did not get to read the first book of the Winter Series before reading this one. And so, throughout the story, there were many occurrences where Winter refers to people and alludes to previous happenings with those particular people without providing any context surrounding it. An example of this is when the head doctor at the GCHQ, Everard approaches Winter:
He raises a hand to my face and stops just short of touching, ‘You should get that seen to,’ he says, his breath whisper light on my cheek, his blue eyes staring into mine with all the intimacy of someone who has broken your mind.
It would have been nice to know what Everard specifically did to Winter. How did he break her mind? And why did he? So, I felt a bit lost at times and there was a lack of character development at the beginning that I am sure was covered in the first novel. The story, however, does pick up and gets super interesting in the last third of the novel, which includes a lot more action and relationship connections that were lacking in the first two-thirds. As it progressed, I began to really enjoy reading it. A good thriller novel, but lost a couple of stars for not providing the necessary content when referencing previous people and events.
Warning: Book contains content of a sexual nature.
What have been some good standalone books have you read that were a part of a series?
‘Winter,’ he says. ‘You’re going rogue again.’ ‘Desperate times.’ ‘This is like chess and you’re the Queen. The best player on the board doesn’t get into a fight with a pawn.’ ‘The Guardsman is no pawn.’ Winter returns to face the most feared hitman of all time: the nameless, faceless Guardsman. Secret Service agent Winter knows global crime boss Alek Konstantin’s days are numbered after she seduced him, then revealed his identity to the world. Now, permanently on the run from the authorities, Alek fights to regain control as the brutal criminal organisation he ruled with an iron fist crashes down around him. When a young woman called Lucy is viciously stabbed and dumped on a mossy grave, a harrowing message for Winter carved on her forehead. Winter follows the trail to the Guardsman – a pitiless contract killer, and Alek’s top hitman. Has the Guardsman gone rogue or is Alek pulling the strings to taunt Winter once more? In a desperate bid to lure Lucy's killer from the shadows and find a path to Alek, Winter books the Guardsman for a hit on herself. If she succeeds, she’ll have the world’s most dangerous killer at her mercy. But if she fails… A spine-tingling suspense thriller, perfect for fans of Sandra Brown, Killing Eve and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Alex Callister is the pseudonym of an industry expert on media, telecoms and internet stocks. She studied history at Oxford and the British School at Rome and was set for a career in academia until the beginning of the tech boom woke a lifelong interest in internet shares. Alex has spent her career visiting high security web hosting sites and speculating on what might go wrong.
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