Brainrush: much rushing, not much brain

BrainrushThe trouble with the first part of most series is that you spend an awful lot of time on establishing the situation, the major players and the general set-up. Then just when things get really interesting… wham, bang, thank you and please buy the sequel. That’s pretty much Brainrush all over. It’s a slightly sci-fi military thriller, set sometime around now, which gives ‘an ordinary joe’ extraordinary mental abilities and throws him into a global terrorist conspiracy of such fiendishness it’s a wonder the bad guy didn’t start whirling his Fu Manchu moustache while explaining all from his mega-secret yet ultra-tech mountain base.

The ordinary Joe ain’t so ordinary, either, as it turns out he can whistle up an entire special forces black ops team at 24 hours’ notice while evading major national security forces. Oh, and he’s a New Man entirely; kind to animals, a faithful buddy to his mates (willing to sacrifice himself for any one of them), compassionate and considerate to his lady friends and entirely indulgent of small children. Plus he’s a dab hand at combat skills and is now endowed with super-brain-stuff.

The rest is an entertaining romp, one which hops around the globe at a blinding pace, tipping its hat to James Bond and every other superspy along the way. But only in the final assault upon Bad Guy Central does the real series plot reveal itself – and it’s far more interesting than the superficial Islamist threat which most of the book concentrates on.

So while I suspect you do need to read this opener in order to understand the interplay between characters in later episodes, it could’ve cut through the chase a lot quicker for me. I got a little tired with the ‘no way out’ action sequences after which there was inevitably a way out… and the fact that someone getting shot / stabbed barely slows them down – just provides an excuse for that character to pop up at a crucial moment two chapters later, oooh not dead after all.

A bit less rushing around and a bit more plot development would’ve worked better for me. But if you like non-stop galloping (and not entirely logical) action, then there’s plenty of it here. An entertaining interlude – if you can download it for very little expense.



Reviewed by Rowena Hoseason

Brainrush by Richard Bard is available as a paperback or ebook

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