Friday 26 May 2017



"Bruno Johnson believes so passionately in justice that he'll lie, cheat, and steal to achieve it - and he'll pulverize anybody who gets in his way." - Booklist

Former cop and ex-con Bruno Johnson and his wife Marie, living in their safe haven in Costa Rica with the children they illegally rescued from certain death, find a message from their outlaw motorcycle gang enemies written on the back of one of their beloved children. The motorcycle gang, Sons of Satan, out for revenge, will stop at nothing to lure the now furious Bruno back into their web. Bruno and Marie, forced to return to Southern California, battle additional demons in the form of an ex-spouse's entanglements.

The FBI, watching the Sons of Satan, recognizes Bruno's unique skills and ties. They recruit him to recover a stolen military drone armed with Hellfire missiles, while Bruno struggles to keep pregnant Marie out of the crossfire. Ultimately, Bruno's inability to ignore a woman in peril yields unspeakable consequences.

A fourth reading outing for me with Dave Putnam and Bruno Johnson and if I’m being totally honest, probably my least favourite of the bunch. Still an enjoyable read with lots of positives, but I think my reading association with the main character might be drawing to an end.

Bruno, Marie and their extended family – the kids they rescued a few years ago - are making a life for themselves down in Costa Rica – still personas non grata and outlaws as far as the US authorities are concerned. Bruno and Marie get sucked back yet again to the States, imperilling their freedom in order to resolve some differences with biker gang – The Sons of Satan – a nemesis from previous books and an ongoing thorn in their collective sides.

Back in the US, Bruno has an unwelcome reconnection with an old flame, Sonja from his days on the force many years ago. His former colleague and lover gets in touch out of the blue and causes a slight blip in spousal relationships between Marie and Bruno. Marie’s a bit of a jealous type.

Sonja is now involved with another biker gang – The Visigoths and needs some help from Bruno. One thing leads to another, then another and before too long Bruno is caught up in problems far removed from those he thought he was returning to the States to resolve.

Bikers, law enforcement, family, pregnancy, old flames, children, criminality, violence, a highway altercation with deadly consequences, TV footage, more bikers, a fatality, stolen weapons and a lot more besides.

I like Bruno as a character, I like his decency, his ability to look after himself, the care he has for his children and Sonia and his father, his striving to do the right thing and not run from a confrontation or a difficult choice. He does seem to be a shit-magnet though, which I suppose makes him such an interesting character to read about.

I felt a sense of deja-vous here, with Bruno returning to fight his battles back in the US – the third book in a row that this has happened after his involuntary exile to Costa Rica. It was one trip too many in my eyes and I kind of wished he could have something to sort out on his own patch now.

The plot if I’m being uber-critical did seem to rely on a bit of suspension of disbelief and made use of a couple of unlikely coincidences to move things along (in my opinion anyway).

I did like large portions of the book, especially the early narrative where Bruno and Sonja work together and their shared experiences and developing relationship, before it all fractured. I enjoy reading about Bruno when he spends time with his kids and with Marie. I like the banter and the conversations and their obvious affection for each other. Similarly, there are some well-written confrontations and action scenes – something Putnam excels at.

A fast read and a bit of a page-turner and while reading I was fully involved in finding out how the latest scrape would resolve itself, but a few niggles.

Overall score 3 from 5 (originally a 4 - something which in hindsight seems a tad high)     

David Putnam has his website here. His earlier books – all enjoyed are  The DisposablesThe Replacements,  and The Squandered

Read in April, 2017
Published - 2017
Page count - 314
Source - copy received from author
Format - trade paperback


  1. Never read his books. But would like to explore as I am on an 'exploring spree'

    1. Fast-paced with a fair bit of action (violence) - I hope you like them!

  2. I know what you mean, Col, about series that use the same premise just a bit too much. That's happened to me, too. Still, Bruno does sound like an interesting character. I'm glad you found some things to like about this one.

    1. I liked it, but the phrase that sprung to mind....went to the well once too often!
      Still given that, I've read a helluva lot worse.

  3. I thought the characters sounded familiar and it must be from your reviews of earlier books. Maybe interested.

    1. Trayc, you should try at least one of the books, you might enjoy it.

  4. That's quite a complex setup and plot. Like Tracy, I think I remember hearing about him from you before.

    1. I do read one a year! Full marks for memory!