It seems to be a travel tradition for me to read an Alex Hunter or Matt Kearns adventure book by Greig Beck when I travel. The last two that I read, Black Mountain and Book of the Dead (the latter being a Matt Kearns and therefore inherently inferior to any Alex Hunter book), didn't do much for me. There wasn't enough of the Arcadian in them. They weren't well-edited--Black Mountain, in particular, was a bit like "The Song That Never Ends" but with sasquatches.
I am extremely pleased to say that Gorgon broke that pattern of disappointment and delivered a fun, action-packed story with just enough internal character struggle to keep things fresh.
or many years, I have wanted to go to Istanbul. Right now is probably not the best time to do so; however, seeing the Hagia Sophia is a bucket list item. Oddly enough, watching Taken 2 only made me want to go to Turkey more than before, seeing as I lived in Paris for almost a year and wasn't kidnapped by sex slavers and thus had, by default, survived Taken.
But alas, Liam Neeson is neither my father nor my date nor a person I will ever meet, much less be protected from mobsters by, so I have to be a bit more practical with my travel. Still: Hagia Sophia. You and me. It's a date. Someday.
Outside of the Hagia Sophia is another holy place, the Basilica Cistern. It's a cistern! It's a church! It's both! And if you go inside after a treasure hunter has released a deadly creature, you will be petrified. Literally.
The Turkish police are mystified when a tourist group fails to emerge from the Cistern. They send in one team after another, but their radios go out just after horrifying screams cross the airwaves. Finally, the head of Turkish SpecOps, Kemel Baykal, leads his team in, saying he wouldn't send them to do anything that he wouldn't do himself. They discover incredibly lifelike statues--lifelike down to the cells preserved in stone. With horror, the soldiers realize that somehow, whatever creature is hunting in the underground area has changed these people into stone. And now it's loose, rampaging across Turkey.
Alex Hunter's mind is broken. He watches the love of his life, Aimee, and their son from afar. The child exhibits Alex's Arcadian abilities, and all he wants is to keep them safe from scientists who would cut up his son to see what makes him tick. Alex roves the country, killing gang members and criminals and looking a bit like someone from The Revenant while doing so. Finally, his C.O. Colonel Hammerson brings him back to the HAWCs, where a doctor attempts to isolate the strange growth in Alex's brain that causes uncontrollable rage and bloodlust.
But before he can be fully cured, this creature appears in Turkey. Governments all over the world naturally recognize it as a weapon. The Russians send Uli Borshov, Alex Hunter's nemesis, to retrieve the weapon.
With the assistance of Matt Kearns (who really is a good character in the Arcadian books; he just cannot carry a novel on his own) and a specialist in Minoan (yes, like the Minotaur!) civilization, the HAWCs identify this monster as the source for the myth of the gorgon. There are tons of cool battles, high-tech field equipment, and a truly awesome standoff underneath the Mediterranean Sea.
This was simply loads of fun, and I attribute that to seeing Alex and his best friend and Lieutenant Sam back in action. I have the next novella and novel on my Kindle ready to go, but I don't know if I want to wait for another plane trip to read them!