The Man Who Never Was – Mark Dawson – Audible Book Review
by Pat Viale
From the jungles of Colombia to the drug dens of Amsterdam, Mark Dawson’s latest thriller, his 16th book featuring the enigmatic John Milton, has his anti-hero assume a mask of deception to track down the people responsible for the death of his friend, Beau Baxter, brutally murdered by a drugs cartel. Like Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, Greg Hurwitz’s Orphan X and Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne, Milton is a former agent, now operating in the shadows, with links to covert political organisations. He is the man the British government calls on to eliminate the worst of the worst: the enemies of the state that MI5 and even the military can’t stop. However, this time it’s personal!
Readers of Dawson’s previous books will know that John Milton has done some bad things in his life but that years of state-sanctioned murder have taken their toll. Having struggled with alcoholism and self-condemnation he is now looking for ways to make amends for the sins of his past. Determined to avenge the death of his friend he contacts some of his former allies and together with Beau’s son, Chase, he sets out to destroy the cartel network and eliminate its leader, a mysterious woman about whom very little is known.
In order to destroy the cartel’s hierarchy one step at a time, Milton makes his way to Amsterdam and passes himself off as a buyer at the club of a dealer with links to the group. The offer he makes is too tempting to resist and when the syndicate’s main British dealer is unexpectedly arrested as a result of a sting Milton has arranged, he finds himself accepted into the inner circle and sets about undermining the whole organisation. However, he cannot refuse an unexpected invitation by the secretive leader to visit the cocaine refining plants in Colombia and he and his team of undercover experts are plunged into a situation of danger and uncertainty which will demand all of their ingenuity to survive.
While full of twists and cliffhanging turns, “The Man Who Never Was “isn’t a classic Milton tale. The character lacks the depth and inner turmoil of some of the earlier stories and overall the novel does not have that unputdownable quality that one associates with Dawson. For people new to the series there is no better place to start than at the beginning. Try listening to “The Cleaner” or “Saint Death” and you are sure to be hooked. However, for fans of Dawson, the latest book is a perfectly satisfying tale that will certainly hold their interest.
The whole series (including three prequels) is read for Audible by the excellent David Thorpe whose quiet, detached narration reflects perfectly the self-assured, determined hero, John Milton. His facility for accents and tone gives a three-dimensional effect to the stories and his sense of pace and timbre is always faultless. If you’re interested in thrillers, you’re sure to enjoy this series. Give it a try!
“The Man Who Never Was” is available from Audible and is 11hr and 12mins long.