Author: Richard Phillips
Performed by MacLeod Andrews
Released: August 2014 by Brilliance Audio on Audible
Category: Crime/Thriller/Suspense, Supernatural
'Jack Gregory, the CIA’s top assassin, went rogue after a mission gone wrong. When a confrontation leaves him bleeding out on death’s doorstep, he is faced with an offer from a dark figure named Anchanchu. If Jack is willing to act as a human host for Anchanchu, the entity will revive him and give him another shot at life. Jack takes the deal…but he must now face the consequences of having the same dark creature in his head as some of history’s greatest villains. Struggling with desires and memories that are not his own, Jack is not the man he once was.
One year later, he is known internationally as The Ripper, assassin for hire, and is faced with having to wrest control of his dark compulsions while preventing a nuclear attack on the United States.'
All through The Rho Agenda I was intrigued by the characters of Jack Gregory and Janet Price. What was their story? Why did Jack’s eyes sometimes seem to have a red glint? In this first of three prequels we get to learn much more about Jack and Janet and what makes them who they are.
Jack, a CIA agent on the trail of his brother’s killer, finds himself facing Carlton ‘Priest’ Williams and a gang of knife wielding thugs in a Calcutta alley. After a bloody fight Jack, well outnumbered and badly wounded, is found by a nun. Taken to a basic clinic and unable to be saved, Jack is pronounced dead. Until, that is, he’s visited by the demon, Anchanchu. Jack has an unimaginable decision to make.
'Doctor Misra had filled out and signed the death certificate for one Jack Gregory, the name on the identification card in the man’s wallet. Sister Mary Judith watched as he took one last look at the chiseled face of the dead man on the table, shook his weary head, and departed……As the sheet settled over the dead man’s face, she saw something that sent a shiver up her spine, a shallow billowing in the sheet where it covered his mouth.'
Jack has been freelance since his revival and it’s his latest client who inadvertently involves him and Janet in a plot, masterminded by an accomplished scientist, the Russian mafia and corrupt members of the CIA, which threatens the safety and security of the United States. Once again the integrity of intelligence agencies and governments, and the way they operate at the highest levels, is called into question.
I love the supernatural twist in the story and how it relates to Jack and his deadly skills. Richard Phillips has created a fascinating and compelling protagonist, fulfilling the promise which began in the Rho Agenda. The narrative pulled me into the story totally and, as always, MacLeod Andrews gives a superbly delivered performance whilst actually raising the bar. As each chapter comes from a different point of view so the narration reflects that person’s characterisation. It works really well. Significant character development and an extremely fast-moving plot kept me hooked until the end. This was well worth the wait.