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Out of Time by David Klass

Out of Time

The Green Man is out there, committing crimes across the US in support of the environment. Tom Smith is a junior FBI analyst – can he help catch this undoubtedly brilliant killer? And does America actually want him caught?

That’s the set-up for this page-turning thriller. We join the action as Green Man launches an attack on a dam using a drone. People die in his attacks, yes, but the urgency of the planet’s situation means that collateral damage is unavoidable.

I confess that I did have problems with the dicey premise – especially so many in the environmental movement, as portrayed in this book, seemingly onside with with both Green Man’s goals, and his methods. It’s also the part of the book that didn’t ring true. However, supportive you might be of his aims, the deaths of innocent families on a boating holiday (in the case of the dam explosion) would surely outweigh those ideals in the minds of the public?

Nonetheless, I still enjoyed this book. It rips around the place, and of course our hero has the usual things to fight against. His father was also in the FBI so for Smith this is a family thing. Interestingly politics plays a dynamic here. An unnamed, very Trump-ian president is portrayed mostly as an idiot, although even the character here seems sharper than the real thing. There’s a very amusing tangent at one point where the president considering his own mortality, has no concerns whatsoever about what he leaves behind once he’s left this mortal coil.

Not everything holds together. Green Man’s morals are ethically suspect, and even US crime fighting agencies, who’s internecine battles are well known, surely wouldn’t be this bad? The environmental championing characters seem all too keen to own multiple vehicles criss-crossing the country using gasoline while thanking themselves for not flying. I mean, I suppose that’s true, but there’s not a Tesla to be found here.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this book, but I did. For slow summer days it gallops along and reaches a satisfactory conclusion.

Thanks to the NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book in return for an honest review. Out of Time is available now in trade paperback and e-book.