Instinct by Jeremy Robinson

August 11, 2011

Please note that Instinct is the second Chess Team novel by Jeremy Robinson. This novel may contain minor spoilers if you haven’t read Pulse.

When the President of the United States falls victim to a weaponized amd contagious strain of a genetic disease – one that kills its victims without warning or symptom – Special Forces commander Jack ‘King’ Sigler is on the case. He and his team of highly trained operators have been assigned to protect a CDC detective as she journeys to the source of the new strain: Vietnam’s Annamite Mountains. 

Surrounded by old landmines, harsh jungle terrain, and more than one military force not happy about the return of American boots to the Ho Chi Minh trail, the fight for survival becomes a grueling battle. Pursued by the VLPA Death Volunteers, Vietnam’s Special Forces unit, the team’s flight through a maze of archaic ruins reveals an ancient secret that may stop the disease from sweeping the globe – even as it threatens both the mission and their lives. 

Before we begin I have a question. Have you ever seen the movie Crank starring Jason Statham? It is a non-stop assault on the senses as Jason rampages across a city hunting down a group of criminals that stole his heart (yes, you did read that correctly). The reason I ask is because reading a Jeremy Robinson novel kind of feels like the same sort of experience. Once the action starts, it just doesn’t quit until the story is done. Like Crank, Instinct knows that there are no real limitations when it comes to action, and it embraces this wholeheartedly. This novel is the written equivalent of pure adrenalin, and I was totally hooked from page one.

In the first novel Pulse, Jack Sigler’s team mate and heavy weapons specialist, Bishop was given the opportunity to shine. Don’t get me wrong I like all of the members of the Chess Team but Jack aside, Bishop stood out. This time it is Queen who comes to the fore. At one point, she suffers greatly at the hands of VLPA but she gets the opportunity for epic bloody revenge. Robinson really likes to push his characters to their limits. I’ve been thinking about this for a while and Queen reminds me of Mother from the Matthew Reilly Scarecrow novels. Both are tough as nails women who are just as capable as all the men around them. They are forces of nature in their own right.

The pace is blistering through out but be warned, Mr. Robinson delights in throwing the reader the occasional curve ball. Put it this way, at the end of chapter twelve there was a moment where I had to read a sentence multiple times as I was so flabbergasted about what had just transpired. There is nothing better than when a writer manages to drop something wholly unexpected into a story. Sneaky, but splendidly so.

I do have a minor quibble. I have to admit to being a little surprised that the identity of Deep Blue, the Chess Team’s secretive right hand man, has been revealed. I enjoyed the enigmatic air that surrounded Deep Blue and part of me is sorry that this element is now gone. In saying that, without spoiling anything, I do now have a burning curiosity about where the reveal will lead.

Pulse is good but Instinct is great. This is a thriller that wears it’s heart in it’s sleeve and I believe it to be all the better for that. Instinct is the purest form of unmitigated escapism. I think it is about time you all discovered for yourself the never-ending action of The Chess Team.

Threshold, the third Chess Team novel, is already available in hardback, the paperback edition is due for release on 31st January 2012.  I’ll be purchasing it as soon as the paperback is available on Amazon UK.

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