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Author: Adam Hamdy
ISBN: 978-1509899128

Copy courtesy of Pan Macmillan (2020)

“Black 13” is a well-written thriller that uses many familiar tropes of the genre, but which is thoroughly contemporary in its’ concerns and plot.

Scott Pearce was unwillingly retired from MI6, and is spending his retirement chasing the lead that his superiors refused to believe in. His cover (and the lead) is blown by a mysterious woman who wants his help; he is forced into a corner where he has little choice but to help her to save himself. However, he’s soon invested for other reasons: something is rotten in the corridors of power, and the country he’s served all his life is at risk.

Pearce finds himself caught in a new kind of war. The rules are different or non-existent; it’s hard to know who or what to trust, and the established agencies are hampered by rules that haven’t caught up yet.

The main weakness in this novel was the link between what Pearce is doing as the novel opens, and the main plot. I never really felt I had a strong sense of what Pearce was following up, or why he was quite so obsessed with it. Neither did I feel a clear link was drawn between this and later events – it’s referred to, but didn’t come into focus for me.

However, if you don’t dwell on that one thing, this is a well-plotted novel where the main strands do come together convincingly. I could believe the motivations of everyone involved – good and bad – and found the plans of the bad guys all too credible. While this isn’t a “ripped from the headlines” story, it is consistent with current affairs and easy to imagine it playing out.

Many thrillers still find themselves a little behind the times, still telling the sorts of stories that could have come out of the Cold War. This is not necessarily bad, but it was refreshing to read a thriller that uses many of the tropes of those kinds of thrillers, but which focused on more current issues.

Pearce is a credible hero; he gets injured, he struggles, he is conflicted between the big picture and looking after his friends. At times I felt he was emotionally blank, but that could be deliberate on Hamdy’s part – a reflection of how Pearce needs to be to operate.

The other characters are generally convincing as well, as are their behaviour and motivations. Hamdy has a tendency towards infodump, particularly where he’s giving background information about a character. This can slow the action down – particularly in the first third of the novel – and there are more engaging ways to convey this information. However, this is a minor glitch in an otherwise strong novel.

I really enjoyed “Black 13”. I like thrillers, and this was the right mix of credible and imaginative. It’s clearly setting up for a sequel (or series), and I was pleased to see that – I’ll be looking out for the next novel. Readers who enjoy a good thriller but want to move on from the Cold War to contemporary issues will find this a real pleasure.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Black 13 by Adam Hamdy. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

9 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: BLACK 13

  1. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read Black 13 by Adam Hamdy!!

    I absolutely loved this book full of action, drama, bad guys and good guys!!
    This book never stopped with action and lots of twists and turns.
    With a likeable undercover agent, doing what he loves for all the right reasons, then getting his cover blown and being plunged into a extremely dangerous world with people killing to keep there secrets safe.

    I can’t wait for the sequel, I will be the first in line!
    In the meantime I’m looking up his previous books!!


  2. Black 13

    Wow! I judged this book by its front cover – I didn’t even read the synopsis, and I wasn’t let down. The cover was true in its luring me into an exquisite piece of literature.

    Adam Hamdy has produced a masterpiece that was addictive from Page 1 of the Prologue. I read this book in record time; faster than any other.

    The story of Pearce and his colleagues is well written, and the action described in perfect detail so I could literally see every corner of each scene. The content is confronting and may upset some readers, but it’s reality and what takes place around the globe more often than we’d like to acknowledge. There are many hero characters for different reasons.

    A core team of ex-military personnel is infiltrating a criminal gang that infects society all the way to the top. The interwoven plots lead the reader through intricate webs of deception.

    Please someone in a production house make this novel into a movie …. It’s begging to be a box office hit.

    Thank you to @beautyandlacemag and @panmacmillan for the opportunity to read and to review ‘Black 13’ by Adam Hamdy. I very much look forward to my next book.

  3. Black 13 by Adam Hamdy was a gripping but confronting book. It is fiction but could easily be based on truth. It involves corruption and deception at all levels of government, and the ever present threat of violence by extremists. Who can be trusted is not easy to discern, and who are the good guys?

    I enjoyed the book, could not put it down, Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Pan MacMillan for the opportunity to read and review.

  4. I really enjoyed Black 13. Characterisation was interesting. It got more exciting throughout the book and kept me rapturously reading to the end, only to discover I’ve enjoyed myself AND learnt something worthy of cogitation.

  5. Black 13 by Adam Hamdy is a gut wrenching, action packed thriller that will not disappoint.
    You are gripped from the first paragraph and will be totally engrossed until the last sentence.
    Fiction at it’s finest that rivals Patterson and Ludlum and Black 13 is the first in the Scott Pearce Series.
    I am looking forward to reading any future books.
    There is a great little Authors Note at the back of the book about some of the research undertaken for this book.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace, Pan Macmillan and Adam Hamdy for the opportunity to read and review this memorable book.

  6. Black 13 is a fast paced thriller of a book, filled with twists & turns that keep the reader hooked. The story line flowed seamlessly & the pace & action picked right up in the last half of the story. It was a very enjoyable read & I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys crime / thriller / spy stories.

    My only complaint that I had while reading this book was that the kids kept interrupting my reading so it was really hard to get into the story initially because I needed to concentrate. But that says more about my kids that the book!

    Thanks to Beauty & Lace + Pan MacMillan Australia for another great read.

  7. I recently read the book Black 13 which is written by Adam Hamdy, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I love these types of books, where you have action and the suspense builds and you are racing to piece it all together just like the main character.

    The story is the first of the Scott Pearce series – which is truly exciting it itself that there will be more! From the first pages of reading, what can I say, I was sucked in, I was wanting more, I was enthralled with the entire story. With interesting characters and thrilling action sequences it was hard to put down. I enjoy reading about spies and secrets and sneaky going ons – this will not let you down.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace for giving me the opportunity to read Black 13 by Adam Hamdy – it was just the sort of reading I needed to get away from the current world.

    1. My review is rather late as I received it a bit late and gee, this is quite a hefty tome. I have to say it took me a while to get into. But I persisted as I really love spy thrillers. There are certainly sections of the book which makes you feel a bit anxious with what’s happening. Didn’t realise this will be one of a series. Looking forward to when the others will be released.

  8. So sad my copy didn’t show up, sounds like a great read …must have gone missing somewhere in the mail

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