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OVERKILL: rave reviews

"You can't put this down." - Rush Limbaugh

"OVERKILL is what used to be called a “ripping yarn,” one that you won’t be able to read fast enough."                                                                                                                                      Joe Hartlaub, BookReporter

Action-packed… Overkill is a spy thriller that operates on a tightrope high above the Swiss Alps. Alex Hawke’s work and personal life crash together in an excruciating fashion… and the stakes could not be higher.”                                                                                                                                                                    - 

"For those who miss the excitement of Ian Fleming's suave special agent James Bond, they will find plenty of action in the dashing aristocrat and fighting man Alex Hawke."                                                     -Iron Mountain Daily News



There was a time when a great deal of popular literature closely resembled Ted Bell’s Alex Hawke books. Doc Savage, a mainstay in the pulp magazines, comes immediately to mind, though there were others who arrived on the scene later. They generally involved a protagonist who was smart, strong, brave, forthright and wealthy. Accompanying them was a group of loyal friends with a mixed bag of skill sets who were willing to lay it all on the line to save the world or a piece thereof. That doesn’t sum up the Hawke novels, but it gives us a jumping-off point.

I should emphasize that all the books in this series (including OVERKILL, the 10th and latest installment) are full of action, historical nuggets and suspense. It seems as if nothing is off the table, as far as Bell is concerned. No other conclusion seems plausible. I mean, how many novels have you read that start off with Vladimir Putin zipping up his trousers after an interlude with a former Miss Ukraine (a sly joke, that one) while he is aboard a private jet, one step ahead of the Russian oligarchs who are planning to depose him? His flight is quick, but not entirely clean, and there is a misstep or two before he gets to his master plan, which is to retake Russia and from there conquer the world. He intends to accomplish all of this through…Switzerland. At first it seems unlikely, but it makes sense once Bell explains everything in an extremely interesting preface.

Meanwhile, Hawke is blissfully unaware of what Putin is planning as he and his young son, Alexei, go about celebrating Christmas with a ski vacation to the Swiss Alps. It looks like an idyllic postcard scene until the tramcar they are aboard suddenly snaps a cable and is left dangling thousands of feet in the air. When the dust settles and the smoke clears, Alexei is inexplicitly missing. This sets up a major mystery that, like the tramcar, Bell does not leave hanging for too long. The “howdunit” becomes a “whodunit” in due course. Hawke is single-minded in his mission to rescue Alexei, as well as catch the lad’s abductors. As usual, Alexei is the most unspoiled spoiled child you’ll ever encounter in a real or imaginary world, so the clock that is ticking while his rescue is effectuated is a very loud one indeed.

Hawke naturally has assistance from a wide-ranging group of friends and associates who contribute brawn, brain and munitions to the pursuit, and dole out punishment for the evil deed while saving the world. Don’t get too relaxed, though. Just when the reader thinks that all is well with the world, Bell throws a monkey wrench into the proceedings at the very end. The next installment in the series simply cannot come too soon.

Bell continues to put his amazing storytelling chops on display. He does not take either his tale or his characters too seriously, but each is highly memorable and all the more realistic for being broadly drawn. He also introduces a new antagonist for Hawke who is almost certain to figure prominently in at least one future tale. Furthermore, Bell turns this latest volume into an exciting travelogue that focuses on Switzerland and answers the question of why it has not been successfully invaded in over 200 years. OVERKILL is what used to be called a “ripping yarn,” one that you won’t be able to read fast enough.-Joe Hartlaub, 5.13.18

Publishers Weekly


"In the prologue of bestseller Bell’s exciting, at times affecting 10th Alex Hawke novel (after 2015’s Patriot), Vladimir Putin, who’s on the run from his country’s oligarchs, parachutes out of the jet he used to escape Russia and lands somewhere in France. Meanwhile, Hawke, a former Royal Navy fighter pilot who’s now senior counterterrorist officer for MI6, and his seven-year-old son, Alexei, get trapped in a tramway gondola near a mountain top in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on Christmas Day. During the ensuing rescue, Alexei is kidnapped. Hawke’s efforts to save Alexei collide with Putin’s attempts to steal all the gold in Switzerland and fight his way back to Russia, aided by old pals Joe Stalingrad, now a Hollywood actor, and freelance warrior Col. Brett “Beau” Beauregard, plus a new ally, psychopathic cowboy Shit Smith. This entry boasts all the attributes Bell’s fans have come to love: overblown prose, outsized characters, a totally far-fetched plot, and an overall moral tone straight out of a 19th-century boys’ adventure story."    



Start with the cover. A brilliant throwback to the tales of Ludlum, Jack Higgins, Alastair McClean! Then there’s the plot. If you think GOLDFINGER is the greatest gold heist ever, think again. Only a madman would think he could rob Switzerland of its gold (70% of the world’s supply).
Hawke’s arch rival is that madman. This book is as taut as a tightrope and just as dangerous! All the usual suspects are back, including Inspector Congreve, Stokley Jones, and Harry Brock. But there’s a new bad boy: a sadistic psychopath, an ex-rodeo star named S*** Smith. You’re gonna die when you meet this guy!

Booklist Reviews 

"Russian president Vladimir Putin is on the run, hiding from the oligarchs who want him dead but feverishly making plans for his triumphant return to the Kremlin. Meanwhile, Alexei, the young son of super spy Alex Hawke, has been kidnapped, and Hawke will do whatever it takes--really, He'll stop at nothing here-to rescue him. But soon he's distracted by something of global import: Putin's last-ditch, no-hols-barred military operation to seize control of Russia and vanquich his wealthy foes once and for all. This is a splendid entry in the Hawke series. As with its predecessors, the books is tightly plotted and energetically written (Bell has an idiosyncratic prose style quite unlike anyone else's); but here, finally, we get to see Bell's fictionalized version of Putin take his final steps into full-blown insanity, and not incidentally, we get to see just how dangerous and reckless Hawke can be when the life of someone he loves ison the line. Overkill is a wonderfully apt title, nor for the writing but for the mindset of both hero and villain. A propulsive, high-concept thriller."

*Copyright 2018

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