Cover Image: One Minute Out

One Minute Out

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Member Reviews

Berkley and NetGalley provided me with an electronic copy of One Minute Out. I was under no obligation to review this book and my opinion is freely given.

First of all, the prize goes to one of the best character names ever. Courtland Gentry is an assassin for hire with a strong moral compass. His work falls into a gray area, as Court is not on the side of right or the side of wrong. The man himself also falls into the shadows, blending in with his surroundings in the times of peril or when stealth is required. In One Minute Out, Gentry opens a can of worms during a mission, embroiling himself in a quagmire that takes him into the underbelly of several societies.

I like how Court always thinks five moves ahead, envisioning the possibilities, but also willing to change the plan midstream. One Minute Out was around 100 pages too long, as it would have been a better book had it been tightened up a bit. Willing to compromise his principles only when absolutely necessary, Gentry often finds himself in the thick of it. The author digs deep into the subject of human trafficking, bringing to light the possibilities that governments might turn a blind eye if the greater good can be served. As always with the Courtland Gentry series, the action sequences beg to be thrown up on the silver screen. Until it is, I will be thoroughly satisfied with devouring another novel. I recommend new readers go first to the beginning of the series, as the many nuances of the character might be lost by starting with One Minute Out.
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One Minute Out is the latest novel in Mark Greaney’s Gray Man series. And it is the first time a Gray Man novel has been written in the first person. After reading most of the other Gray Man books, this took some getting used to as it shifts from third person to first person with the Court Gentry passages. 

The story takes the Gray Man from Europe all the way to Hollywood after he uncovers a human trafficking operation in the Balkans. He follows the pipeline of women moved from Croatia via Italy to the US and along the way he teams up with one of the women’s sister who works as an analyst in financial fraud for EUROPOL.

For the finale he also gets some help from a small group of older and retired ex special forces members which sometimes felt a bit of a stretch. Overall it is another entertaining Gray Man novel which didn’t disappoint. I’d prefer the next one being written in the third person again though.
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Court Gentry, The Gray Man,  is in the game -- and on his own.

While on a mission to Croatia, Gentry uncovers a human trafficking operation. The trail leads from the Balkans all the way back to Hollywood.   He is determined to shut down the pipeline and bring the Director and his cohorts to justice -- or to hell. 

But he's in this on his own.  His agency has reasons for keeping the Director alive, and Court away from the Consortium's dirty business,   It's one man against international gangs, dirty cops, and well-paid assassins.  But when has that ever stopped The Gray Man?
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I have enjoyed all of the Gray Man series and hope it continues.  The advanced copy that NetGalley so kindly gave me felt a bit rushed, more like Mark Greaney's Tom Clancy books than his writing of the Gray Man books.  The subject of international sex trafficking on a scale I never would have imagined was interesting and shocking.
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Mark Greaney's Alpha operator, Court Gentry, aka the Gray Man, is so-named because he's almost invisible when he's on a mission. He sneaks in, performs with precision, brilliance, and excellence, and is out before anyone can find him to stop him. He is smart, clever in his plans, and rarely does the expected.

Book 9 of the Gray Man series, One Minute Out (Berkeley 2020) is one of the best yet. Gentry has a storied career, first with the CIA, then on the run from a CIA kill order, and now doing jobs for hire or for the agency when they want consummate deniability. This particular job, Gentry is to kill a very bad guy (he will only kill the worst of the worst--never as an assassin) for a private client. He does that but finds out that this very bad guy is part of a pipeline that trafficks underage and young girls for sex all over the world. Gentry should walk away, job completed, but he has a moral compass that supersedes any orders or directives from his bosses (part of his problem with the CIA). He literally can't make himself ignore injustice. As he's fretting how to save these girls, he winds up aligned with a forensic investigator who is tracking down the same bad guys because they kidnapped her sister. What she lacks in skill and experience, she well makes up for with determination and passion. Between the two of them, they decide to do the impossible.

There's one way this book is different from other Gray Man stories: It's written in present tense first person, which makes it more personal and immediate than stories written in third person past tense. I asked my husband if he noticed that--or cared (he also read the book). He didn't notice, didn't care. I'm going to call that, just me.

Overall, I highly recommend this for readers of spy/mystery/adventure thrillers. There is no way you'll be disappointed.

--to be reviewed on my blog, WordDreams in April 2020
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Published by Berkley on February 18, 2020

You know what you’re getting when you read a Gray Man novel. An abundance of action, a fair amount of mayhem, and a story that blows past the boundaries of plausibility. You also know that characterization is rudimentary, with the exception of the protagonist, whose personality is well established. Court Gentry is an action hero, not an introspective character who cares about personal growth. He knows what he knows and that’s all he’ll ever know. He’s happy with that, so why should readers complain?

I don’t follow many unidimensional action heroes, but there are a few I find entertaining. The Gray Man series is on that list. Few action thriller writers actually deliver thrills. Mark Greaney is one of them. I don’t care that the action is implausible because the story moves so quickly that I don’t have time to think about it.

The Violator, a/k/a the Gray Man, a/k/a Gentry, is hired to kill a retired Serbian war criminal by people who think he deserves to be dead. Killing people is Gentry’s thing, and if he’s paid to do it, all the better. Of course, he only kills people who deserve it, and to some minds, that makes it okay. To my mind, fretting about Gentry’s morality— he doesn’t claim to have any — would get in the way of the story.

As he’s getting ready to take the shot, Gentry goes against his instincts and noses around because he senses something’s not right. When he investigates, he discovers a couple of dozen women and girls who are shackled to the floor. He learns that the women are being trafficked as sex slaves — a popular thriller theme in recent years — and that the women are likely to pay a price for the mayhem he is causing. Gentry doesn’t have the resources to rescue a dozen women from a hellhole, but after he kills the war criminal and makes his escape, he feels guilty about whatever grief he might have caused them.

Gentry eventually hooks up with a female EUROPOL analyst named Talyssa Corbu. She’s usually tracking down financial criminals, but she’s freelancing in an effort to take down the sex slave pipeline. She has a personal stake because she enlisted her sister to cozy up to one of the leaders of the Consortium that manages this billion-dollar enterprise, and her sister, not being trained as a spy, got herself kidnapped and added to the stable of sex slaves. Talyssa eventually uses her skills at following the money to help Gentry use his skills at killing bad guys.

To follow the kidnapped girls, Gentry chases after and boards a yacht, then tries to figure out how to infiltrate a heavily guarded way station for enslaved women in Italy. In the meantime, the CIA has an important mission for Gentry and needs him to come home. To that end, a team is sent to Italy to bring him home against his will.  All of this is just an excuse for chase scenes, gun battles, underwater chase scenes involving gun battles, and . . . you get the idea. By the time it’s all over, Gentry is in California and a lot of people are dead.

The highlight comes near the end when Gentry enlists some over-the-hill action heroes and a geriatric helicopter pilot to help him assault a rich man’s estate. The story isn’t even slightly plausible but it is richly entertaining. I wouldn’t rate One Minute Out as my favorite Gray Man novel, but it is much better than the bulk of action hero thrillers, the ones I typically abandon after twenty pages because the protagonists are so self-righteous and full of themselves. Yeah, Gentry knows he’s the baddest assassin out there, but he doesn’t make a big deal out of it. He is who he is, and Greaney’s emphasis isn’t so much on what a great patriot Gentry is (that’s an understated given) or how he’s a great American hero (debatable, even in Gentry’s mind), but on how much fun he can deliver to the reader by having Gentry break things and kill bad guys.

RECOMMENDED
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In this ninth book in the Gray Man series, Mark Greaney has sent Court Gentry to the Balkans to eliminate a former general from the Balkans War. Gentry succeeds but stumbles across a ring of human traffickers and a group of young women from Eastern Europe bound to be sold as prostitutes across the world.
The Gray Man has a moral compass that seems somewhat unfit for a man killing people for a living, but Greaney sells this premise surprisingly well, and with his usual wit and cunning, Greaney crafts a story that is both believable and shocking (in a "I-really-hope-this-doesn't-happen-in-real-life-but-probably-does" kind of way).
Greaney leaves out the super nerdy weaponry and other tactical gear stuff that other authors in the genre (such as e.g. Brad Taylor) revel in, which is a great plus in my book.
All in all, this is another very entertaining read from Greaney who has established himself as one of top authors in the genre, ahead of Brad Thor, Kyle Mills, Brad Taylor and the like. 
Five big stars!
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Another great Gray Man novel by Mark Greaney.  Action packed thriller with just the right sprinkling of humor to ease the tension. I recommend all of the Gray Man series - they hold up well individually so you don’t have to start from the beginning. Highly recommended, especially for fans of Tom Clancy or Lee Child.
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A really great Gray Man novel about a topic that is very serious-human specifically women trafficking. A routine (nothing is ever routine) task that starts in Eastern Europe, moves west, ends up in the United States where it is controlled from. An assignment to kill a war criminal turns into an effort to save the lives of many women already in the pipeline to be sold, and to break up a business that generates billions but ruins the lives of everyone it touches except for the few at the top. The sister of one of the kidnapped victims provides much needed assistance (as she is affiliated with The EU’s police)to Gentry and provides resources that he wouldn’t normally have access. Highly recommended.
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Court Gentry (aka the Gray Man) is in Croatia to snipe a war criminal. As he watches the old man through his scope, though, he decides that far away through a scope just won't do, and this man needs an up close and personal visit. Despite the presence of a small personal army and a couple of dogs guarding the war criminal, Gentry makes his way into the house only to find the old man not in his bed. Following sounds he hears, he makes his way into a basement and finds over twenty women and girls chained to the walls there. One woman, who was loose because the old man was about to bring her upstairs and assault her, runs out of the house (despite the presence of that small army and a couple of dogs). Gentry kills the old man and then wants to free the women, but one of their number tells him to leave, as he can't protect all of them, and they will be punished worse if they leave and are recaptured.

Gentry reluctantly leaves them but vows to find them again and free them, and also to bust the human sex trafficking ring he has stumbled across.

The story moves from Croatia to Italy to the US, as Gentry follows the pipeline of women moved from country to country. Along the way, he picks up an ally - one of the womens' sister, who works in financial fraud for EUROPOL - and she heads off on a side trek to engage the services of a hacker. after telling Gentry that not only is there a sex trafficking ring, there's an ocean of bad money being laundered in the process. Meanwhile, Gentry keeps dogging the pipeline, killing quite a number of people in his path and getting beat up at various locales.

SPOILERS FROM HERE

 The evidence continues to pile up, and when it points to a US-based businessman and movie exec as the ringleader, Gentry calls his office - the CIA - and asks for help. When it's denied for reasons he isn't told, he requests help from another, more personal source: a bad guy in Italy, where the women will be sold at auction. The bigshot US businessman will also be in attendance at this particular stop even though his head of security advises him against it, and Gentry wants to get to him somehow, and kill him. On the evening of the auction, Gentry spots members of a special ops team, realizes they're hunting him, and eventually there's a big firefight, with the bad guys hoping on a private plane with two women marked for "special handling" - that is, to serve as sex slaves for he crooked businessman.

Gentry makes his way back to the States via a pretty humorous (considering the circumstances) method, and gets to California. Based on information provided by the EUROPOL analyst, he makes his way to the bigshot's house. He realizes he can't take the entire compound by himself, so enlists the help of some old operators (and I mean older in ago, as in, this sort of thing is a young person's game). After killing some more bad guys, and talking the bigshot's personal security out of protecting the bigshot, Gentry has come face to face with the bad guy - but he promised the CIA he wouldn't kill the guy, because the guy is an asset to the CIA, providing information on the flow of money and arms around the world. Since Gentry can't kill the bad guy, he shoots the bad guy right in the crotch, blowing his junk off. I guess that means no more sexytimes for him, assaulting or otherwise, although the way medicine is these days, and the fact that he's a billionaire, it could be entirely possible bad guy could get his nether regions redone and go right back to his evil ways. On the other hand, it's made clear in the last few chapters that the gad guy needs ED drugs and coke in order to be able to perform, so maybe not.

Gentry then walks away from the house, despite the LAPD showing up in huge numbers. He climbs into a van holding some CIA dudes, and they drive off into the sunset. 

END SPOILERS

The end of the book evokes The Shawshank Redemption (or, for the pedants, "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption") with a litany of "hopes". This book really does seem to be one of the more adaptable ones of the series for the big screen, and it wouldn't surprise me to see it adapted into a screenplay and made into a movie starring some actor everyone will either love or hate, with the hate side pointing out all the ways X could not possibly be the Gray Man.

Overall, if you like the Gray Man series, you'll like this book. I do, and I did.

Four solid stars out of five.
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This is not the type of book that I am normally attracted to but for some reason the description led me to accepted for review and check it out. I am very pleased that I did so. Though the subject matter is hard to stomach and there's a lot of violence in this book, I am going to say that I very much like the protagonist in this book. He talks to himself, he argues with himself, he has a very sarcastic streak that runs through him, and he is a very good guy even though he does harsh things. 

 A fast paced book that I can definitely recommend, though I do warn it involves young women and sex trafficking if that might be a trigger for you.
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I have enjoyed the action, use of technology and contemporary locations of the Gray Man since I discovered and have read and listened to every book. However, I was not fond of the human trafficking theme...just a matter of personal taste.
Please keep the Court Gentry adventures coming !
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In exchange for an honest review, I would like to thank NetGalley, Mark Greaney and Penguin Random House Berkley Publishing for the ARC of ONE MINUTE OUT. Court Gentry is explosive in this high octane espionage thriller.  The Gray Man is a conflicted and complex soul, and this novel underscores that fact. He is an assassin with a moral compass, albeit somewhat bent. He admits he is a bad dude for the purpose of ridding the world of ‘badder’ dudes.  He has a conscience justifying righteousness kills. The reader gets glimpses of his inner turmoil- his self reflection, questioning his motives. No doubt about it, Court Gentry’s multi dimensional  character is what makes this series so successful! That, coupled with interesting plot lines and explosive action! 


This particular storyline is particularly dark - that of human trafficking. The gritty and gruesome depictions of the international “pipeline” of female slavery make  this a deeply troubling read. This reader had to put the book down and take frequent breaks due to the weighted content.  The exciting action doesn’t pick up until the last 25%  of the book, at which point, one could.not.put.it.down! However difficult the content, it is important content and no doubt well researched with statistics of the  “world’s 150-billion-dollar annual human trafficking revenue”; “Sex trafficking is the third most profitable criminal enterprise in the world, behind drugs and counterfeiting. It’s ahead of the sale of illegal weapons.” Therefore, while a difficult and sobering  read in that the scenarios are all too realistic, it is an important one.


At the conclusion of the novel, Gentry’s self reflection again demonstrates more of his inner turmoil and character: 

“ I hope Roxana and the other girls from the ranch can all go back to their lives, putting this behind them. I hope Liliana made it back to Moldova safely, and I hope the twenty-two women and girls sold into bondage in Italy can be found and rescued. All these people need so much help, but I can’t help them. I can’t help any of them. All I can do is hope. I close my eyes and lean my head back now. Men continue to treat my wounds as I lay there. Hope isn’t a strategy, but sometimes it’s all you’ve got.”  

HOPE. HOPE is thematic in Gentry’s actions and reflections.This narrative caused me to reflect on all the (real!) men and women who stand in the gap for our liberty, enduring horrific experiences and their aftermath in the HOPE of making a difference in the lives of Everyman.  


The denouement is the excellent! Gentry is safe, his unsanctioned mission forgiven and successful, and his colleagues are promised a release from custody. While Gentry is furious about the political machinations and government’s alliances with the main antagonist of his noble cause, he concedes to return to the fold and the reader gets a glimpse of the HOPE that is the underpinning of his assignments; Gentry’s CIA boss, Matt Hanley concedes:

“ You are too precious a commodity for me to let you run around the world saving individual girls. The next job I have for you … frankly, kid … it’s bigger than that.”  

That teaser surely gives the reader hope of more great feats to come for our noble assassin, Court Gentry!  
One can only hope it will be another thrilling ride!  Kudos to Mr. Greaney for writing more than a thrilling espionage novel but also endeavoring to bring depth and insight to the reader! 

Favorite  Gentry quotes: 
“I had a mentor, and he had a thing he used to tell me. ‘Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.’”
“One thing I’ve noticed in this line of work. Nobody is sorry when they are doing what they do. But everyone seems so sorry when I show up to make them pay for it.
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The Grey Man Returns!  The series continues to keep getting better. This one was interesting as it was told in a first person which was a first for the series.  I can't get enough of the series and highly recommend picking up this book as fast as you can. I wish Mark wrote them quick enough!
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The one thing I have to say for the author is that you just do not have time to become bored reading his stories. There’s always plenty of action and the fast pace makes for an incredible story.

One Minute Out is a race against time, literally. The story is a heartbreaking nod towards what we see in the headlines every day. Sex trafficking is at an all-time high which is very sad thing to say in this day and age.

In One Minute Out, Greaney and the Gray Man take on a huge sex trafficking conglomeration and the story has us running all over Europe and ending in America.

Packed with his signature bad ass moves, the Gray Man goes after his target on a wing and a prayer. This is one story you simply don’t want to put down. And the explosive ending is definitely a show stopper!

Greaney brings us intensity, grit, with plenty of military-like action in his traditional style. But we also get a look into the sex trafficking industry that will make your stomach roll, tears your heart out a bit, and begs you to question when and how will they truly make it stop.

A freaking bad ass book. My favorite Gray Man so far!

Not to be missed!
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While on a mission to Croatia, Court Gentry, aka The Gray Man,  uncovers a human trafficking operation. The trail leads from the Balkans all the way back to Hollywood.  Court is determined to shut it down, but his CIA handlers have other plans. The criminal ringleader has intelligence on terrorist groups and foreign banks and the CIA won't move until they have that intel. It's a moral balancing act with Court at the pivot point. Along the way, he works with a girl whose sister gets caught up in the trafficking operation, and works with her to find her sister.

I got this book as an ARC from NetGalley.  I like this series very much, and, if you like action books, you will thoroughly enjoy them as the action is non-stop and the plots and characters very well written.
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It's a great actioner of a book. The suspense stays all the way through as we navigate through Court Gentry's path, which is not always the easy, nor free of danger.
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Mark Greaney and the Gray Man have another hit with One Minute Out. On a break from his contract work for the CIA, Court Gentry stumbles across a sex trafficking organisation that spans from the Balkans all the way back to the United States. The action starts from page one and doesn't let up as the plot takes you all around Europe and culminates in a stand off on American soil. Looking forward to the next  Gray Man novel, The only downside is that I will have to wait another 12 months for it
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Mark Greaney has crafted an engrossing page turner of a read in One Minute Out. Well worth the read!
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Another one in the W column for both The Grey Man and his author--in my book, this is the most compelling "action hero" (and series) going--as the cinematic set pieces and character work continue to elevate the books above the norm.
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