Book Review – BLACK RUN (2021) by D.L. Marshall

BLACK RUN (2021) *****
by D.L. Marshall
This paperback edition published by Canelo, 2021, 392pp
© D.L. Marshall, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-80032-277-6
Blurb: John Tyler has a new mission: capture a heavily protected target from the Alps and smuggle him back into the UK in time for Christmas. La Rochelle in the dead of night: Tyler boards the Tiburon, a rusting freighter crewed by smugglers and mercenaries, for the last leg of his journey. But he is short on time. His mark’s security team has pursued him across France, determined to retrieve their boss, and they won’t be deterred by an ocean. The race is on. Tyler heads into the Bay of Biscay in a storm, with a pursuing boat snapping at his heels. But when his prisoner is found murdered inside a sealed hold on the ship, everyone on board becomes a suspect. In the flickering light of the Tiburon’s passageways there’s nowhere to run, but everywhere to hide. Some might think the situation is spiralling out of control, but they don’t know John Tyler…
Comment: D.L. Marshall’s follow-up to his excellent debut novel ANTHRAX ISLAND is a supremely confident action thriller and mystery. The author successfully blends elements of Alistair MacLean adventure with Bond/Bourne spy action and locker-room mystery into a page-turning cocktail that is irresistible. Marshall skillfully unfolds his story by mixing the present with events in the two-week lead-up to Tyler boarding the Tiburon with his human cargo. The action is frequent and bloody but described with self-awareness and frequent nods to popular culture– notably The Beatles, Band Aid. and, like the latest Bond movie, elements of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The reader has fun spotting these obvious and not-so-obvious references. There are twists galore and a cliff-hanger conclusion that leaves you wanting more. BLACK RUN shows Marshall to be a writer of immense talent, whilst Tyler is a hero whose human fallibilities make him endearing and less of a superman than others that flood the genre.