Hong Kong

I’ve enjoyed Stephen Coonts' series of Jake Grafton novels. The first book in the series, Flight of the Intruder, still stands as a great novel of men, naval aviation, and their mission in Vietnam. Along the way, we have had several touching moments showing the softer side of our hero with his wife, daughter, and friends. This is the eigth book in this series, and I have read them all up to this point.

Unfortunately, Hong Kong does very little to advance the series. Those fans looking for a novel of the navy will be sorely disappointed. The plot focuses on Rear Admiral Grafton, and his wife Callie, on a “working vacation” to the Far East.

The first half of the novel has extended descriptions of the current plight of Hong Kong. OK, I get it. How many times do I need to hear the same thing that China took over the former British colony? Unlike others that weave in fascinating historical tidbits, I found none of that here.

Hong Kong is further complicated by an extended cast of characters. There were so many characters, many barely developed, that I practically needed notes to keep track of them all. Perhaps the authentic Chinese names contributed to the overall confusion, or perhaps there were just too many.

In the second half of the novel the pace of the action quickens. The plot starts to develop, and I finally felt like we were back on track. Unfortunately, for the last 75 pages, the novel reminds me of a bad 80’s action flick. They had to resort to a group of robots to finish out the novel! I was cringing on every page to the end to see how low we would sink.

This 350 page novel feels like a tome twice as long. Quite honestly, on several occasions, I almost stopped and moved on to another book, something I almost never do. I recommend you skip Hong Kong, and look elsewhere. This is by far, the weakest book in Coonts' Jake Grafton novels.

Overall Grade: C-

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