Cover Image: Kill Chain

Kill Chain

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

What a book!  This fast-paced thriller kept me on the edge throughout! Well-developed characters, plenty of twists, and just plain good writing. I loved it! Thanks to Netgalley for advance reader copy.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this book.  Character development was good.  The plot was very interesting.  Not a lot of typos.
Was this review helpful?
Pascual Rose could be called a terrorist. But he never pulled a trigger, lit a fuse, or pushed a button. His talent was setting it all up for others to do the dirty work. He was most active in the post-cold war years. His last assignment led to the deaths of a German couple. Since then, he has gone to ground in an attempt at atoning for his former life while stayting one step ahead of German investigators. Off the electronic grid, he now lives as Pascual March. His ‘wife’ (they never married. That would've put him on the grid) is a flamenco artist of note and they have a son who is a university student in the Netherlands studying what appears to be party science. 
The fact that Pascual is so fully ‘off the grid’, he is a perfect foil for blackmail. A criminal underground with some seriously long arms has found him. Threatening him with the safety of his wife and son, they force him to set up a string of shell companies and shadow accounts in the Caribbean, around the Med, and western Europe. Sounds like a money laundering scheme on a large scale. 
But Pascual isn’t some flunky. Planning and finding answers kept him alive back in the day. If he can back trace the electronic infiltration into his life, maybe he can find out who has a hold on him and, more importantly, what they are up to. With the help of a family friend, a young street tough from Tangiers, a computer security expert from Barcelona, and an investment lawyer from Madrid, Pascual searches for answers while doing this syndicate’s bidding. 
He manages to determine the target, but still isn’t sure who is pulling the strings. Pascual realizes once he has established the last shell company that starts the laundering process, he is no longer necessary. Word gets to his wife and son to get to their secure, last ditch hiding spot in northern Spain. A few days of safety is just the lull before the eventual storm.
It appears that Martell had penned a trilogy about the repentant spy’s search for absolution in the 90’s. Fast forward to the mid 2010’s finds Martell asking himself what might’ve become of Pascual. Kill Chain is the beginning of the answer. Enough loose ends prevail to suggest that perhaps another trilogy is in the works. On one level, this re-engagement of an old spy sort of parallels Olen Steinhauer’s Milo Weaver – a once highly active ‘Tourist’ called back into the game. This book is based primarily in Barcelona so it’s treading territory less familiar to most political/mystery readers. And if one is looking for a primer about money laundering, this might be a reasonable start. Not to mention that I was glad I was reading this on my Kindle because I was checking word definitions in most every chapter – Martell audacious vocabulary takes us on quite the roller coaster.
Was this review helpful?
After 20 years of not being involved in terrorist activities, Pasqual Rose feels save that he will never be contacted again.  Unfortunately, once you have been in that business, someone always finds you.  He didn't want to get involved but when they threatened his wife and son, he felt he had no choice but to do what these people wanted.
Was this review helpful?
This book has a very unusual plot, making it quite different from the usual thriller.. The main character is forced into a series of actions that put himself and his family in grave danger. He struggles to be a good man, but many forces are working on him. The people who appear along the way to help him are unique and interesting on their own. I not only enjoyed a mystery, I got a quick lesson in cryptocurrency. I also got to visit many places in the world as the actions take place.. The style of writing makes for easy reading. The descriptions are brief but do the job. The author does a great job of portraying his character's anguish as he tries to do the right thing. The book was not real compelling, but I stayed the course. I do have to rate it extremely high on imagination.
Was this review helpful?
Plenty of action and danger in this thriller. You never know what is coming next so keeps you guessing.
Was this review helpful?
I was issued this book in return for an honest review by NetGalley.

A good book.  Took me back to the days of reading Ludlum.  A bit of a Cold War spy thriller updated to the 21st century.  Not so much animosity between the countries but using modern technology to cause issues.

The hero, Pascual, had been involved back in the good? old days.  He had seemingly put all that behind him and was living a tranquil, peaceful life.  Suddenly, against his wishes, he is pulled back into the turmoils.  From there, many twists and turns.

I hadn't read what I would call a "spy thriller" in quite a bit of time, and this was enjoyable.
Was this review helpful?
When a retired agent specializing in logistics gets contacted 20 years later in retirement in Spain, his first thoughts are why. He gets pulled into a complex money laundering scheme, a battle between 3 or four intelligence agencies, and various state and mob groups.  Even though he’s a digital naif, he has friends who aren’t, and this moves into the most modern view of how to track people, money and cryptocurrencies.  This creates suspense, drama, and the classic story of a father protecting his family. But of course there are double and triple crosses to contend with. A very interesting novel and one worth reading.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this book! It was fast paced and kept my attention throughout the chaos! I rate this book a 4.1! I would like a Part 2!
Was this review helpful?
A Terrorist Comes Out of Retirement

For twenty years, Pascual Rose has been out of the game. Under his new identity he’s earning a living as a freelance translator living with his wife, Sara, and his teenage son in a provincial Catalan town. One quiet night he receives a text asking him to meet two strangers on the terrace of his home. Pascual knows this means trouble. 

The strangers have a proposition for him, help them carry out a major money laundering operation and he’ll receive a million euros, fail to accept their offer and his wife and son will suffer. Although he no longer has his contacts, and he’s a little rusty, Pascual is smart. He starts the job taking advantage of the skills of others, but who can he trust as he sets up his shell companies taking advantage of places where the laws are set up to allow investors and businesses to shield large amounts of money.

This is a fast paced thriller with lots of action. The book is full of characters who Pascual uses to accomplish his mission in various countries as well as being pursued by security forces. Sometimes I thought there were too many characters, but as Pascual moves from country it’s necessary for him to have a variety of contacts. 

I found the information on money laundering and the legal requirements of various countries very interesting. However, the detail and the fact that much of the book is done through dialogue slowed the story a bit. However, if you enjoy a fast paced thriller this is an interesting one.

I received this book from Net Galley for this review.
Was this review helpful?
Kill Chain is a fast-paced thriller that takes you to new places and ideas. The author keeps your interest, and in the last third, he had me mesmerized. I liked the lead character, Pascual, and appreciated the different forces he has to deal with. Saying too much would mean I might include spoilers, and the one thing I did not like would definitely be a spoiler. But congratulations to the author (and his research) for a job well done. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
This book is about a former spy who is asked to help money launder a huge amount of money.  He tries to keep not only himself but his family safe.  The story takes places in many areas of the world and tells of his dangerous mission.
Was this review helpful?
Set mostly in Spain, KILL CHAIN is a thrilling tale of international intrigue, money laundering at the highest levels, and the perfect patsy. Pascual March has been lying low for some twenty years. Facing threats to his wife and son, he is forced to steal his own former identity, Pascual Rose. Convoluted? To be sure!

Dominic Martell has written a novel both for and of the 21st century. It is current enough to mention the death of Jamal Khashoggi at the hand of the Saudi prince. After reading this book, you may find yourself wondering which world power is friend or enemy to others. Is any government to be trusted?

KILL CHAIN is masterfully written, action packed, and stands on its own despite earlier works starring this same main character. If anything, I now want to read the earlier books by Martell detailing the exploits of Pascual March.
Was this review helpful?
I received a copy of this book for review from Netgalley.

This intriguing crime drama, Kill Chain, has such a strong continental feel that it's hard to believe that the author, Dominic Martell, was born and raised in the USA. I loved the start of the book where the main character Pascual Rose, once a young firebrand terrorist from Barcelona and now, 20 years later, a plodding freelance translator just trying to stay under the radar, is trapped into fronting for cyber criminals intent on committing the crime of the century. It's a slick setup and explained impeccably well by 2 agents that seek to have Pascual Rose take all the risk with the payoff being the safety of his family and a million Euros.

Of course nothing in life is simple and soon there's multiple interest groups, official & criminal, attempting to control or kill poor Pascual. His many attempts to thwart his controllers and keep his friends and family safe add up to a compelling narrative that I highly recommend. This is a really well put together and exciting novel.

Martell wrote several books about Pascual Rose back in the 1990s when the character was in the midst of his youthful indiscretions. I've not read them but they should be well worth investigating. Martell is a heck of a good storyteller.
Was this review helpful?
Somehow I missed Dominic Martell's earlier books about Pascual Rose. It was my good fortune to get an advance reader's copy of this sequel. After this introduction, I'm going back to read everything else I can find by this author.

Martell is a solid writer who produced an intelligent espionage story with some satisfying twists. Pascual is a reformed terrorist who for 20 years has been living a quietly as a translator in Barcelona. His peaceful life is detonated by a visit from mysterious Russians or perhaps Israelis or maybe Americans who are skilled in tradecraft and make him an offer he can't refuse --not if he values the lives of his wife and son.

Pascual becomes a pawn in a scheme involving secret bank accounts, wire transfers and multiple identities. Martell gets the geopolitics right, and delivers quite a primer on money laundering and cryptocurrency as he unspools the tense plot.

The suspense is keen: Where did all that money really come from? How many more nation-states or criminal syndicates will be dragged in as Pascual tries to come out ahead (or at least alive)? But it's the relationships I will remember, of Pascual with his wife and son, and his family with the numerous friends who take on enormous risks to assist them.

I really can't recommend this book highly enough. Thanks to NetGalley and Meryl Moss Media/Dunn Books for an ARC.
Was this review helpful?
A “Kill Chain” is the military description for combat in three phases: One, determining what’s happening, Two, deciding what to do about it, and Three, taking action.  It’s also a term that’s now used by electronic security experts to describe, intercept and prevent intrusion and theft from computer systems of information, money, or both.  Simply put—the kill chain must be broken in order to prevent a successful attack from outside.
In author Dominic Martell’s newest thriller—and fourth of the series—entitled Kill Chain the writer revisits a character named Pascual Rose, a former terrorist who’s been living quietly in the Catalonia region of Spain for the past twenty years, regretting his former life, but not quite repenting from it, while ekeing out a living translating legal documents.
His quiet, humble life is upended without warning however, when a menacing pair of operatives calling themselves ‘Lila’ and ‘Felix’, track Pascual down and offer him a carrot and stick deal he can’t refuse.  The carrot . . . one million dollars in an untraceable bank account in the Cayman Islands.  The stick?   “We will kill your wife and son.”  All Pascual has to do is travel to various tax havens in Europe and around the Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas, where he’ll open bank accounts using his real name, with seed money provided by the pair of thugs.  Their plan is to steal an epic amount of funds in a cyber attack.  As Pascual travels, he’s approached by a tough and beautiful woman named Artemisa Pereda, who turns out to be a lawyer.  She alerts Pascual to an international scheme of lies, corruption and murder involving several countries, informing him of dangers he’s not likely to survive.  And all of a sudden, Pascual is in the clutches of the German Police, the Spanish Police and some evil Russian gangsters . . . as well as the diabolic Lila and Felix . . . while the Kill Chain gets longer, and the attacks more frequent and deadly in this kinetic, propulsive and electrifying international thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page . . . and looking for the next caper from author Dominic Martel and the wily Pascual Rose!
Was this review helpful?
Pascual Rose Is Forced Back Into The Criminal Life He Left Behind

Pascual is enjoying a leisure family life far distanced from his prior terrorist background.  That is, until he is approached by a beautiful woman and her thuggish companion.  She makes him an offer he can’t refuse, primarily because they threaten the life of his family.  All he has to do is cooperate in a clandestine scheme for him to open various Swiss-style bank accounts in several European countries.  For what purpose?  He doesn’t know, at least in the beginning.  There is an unexpected problem, though, when Pascual is contacted by another person who wants a piece of the action.  They, too, demand his loyalty, and the danger gets even more complicated from there.  Pascual plays his role brilliantly, constantly vigilant and playing each character off the other in this fast-paced and ever-changing mystery.  

The story draws you in deeper and deeper as you learn more about the scheme and the people involved.  There is a lot of background information on locations and banking procedures, while the tension builds as the scheme becomes more complex.  Pasqual had his hands full keeping each faction separate as he works to figure out how he can remain alive at the end.  It’s a complex story with many plots and sub-plots, cover-ups and double-crosses to keep you turning pages and trying to anticipate what will happen next.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley, Meryl Moss Media, and Dunn Brooks for my enjoyment and review.
Was this review helpful?
The flawed protagonist model is explored in this mystery. Martell brings back Pascual Rose, a spy who has been out of the limelight for decades. I haven't read his earlier works featuring Rose, but that didn't matter as this novel is self-contained. Rose is picked by a mysterious couple of criminal masterminds with the promise of a million Euro payday. The story gets quickly complicated with a cyber hacker and others who try to compromise him. You are never sure of anyone's motivations and who he can trust. My own work in writing about cybersecurity made me interested in this novel, and Martell sticks pretty close to what is believable and technically accurate. Rose races around the world establishing bank accounts and tries to understand why he was picked by the couple to represent their enterprise. Martell has many well-drawn characters who are in pursuit, and Rose must also collect his wife and son and try to save their lives. Highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
This was a solid espionage story featuring a protagonist who is an ex-terrorist who has been living under the radar for the past twenty years. (His earlier escapades were written about in the ‘90s.) He is ‘hired’ under duress (either his wife or his son would be killed if he didn’t cooperate) to travel throughout parts of Europe, Africa and the Mid-East to open commercial bank accounts for large sums of money and eventually learns that these accounts are for converting bitcoins back into currency.  I won’t go further into the plot because of spoilers, but it is well developed although, in my opinion, slow reading.  All in all it made me think of many of the remarkable non-action driven spy novels of the last century. Thanks to Net Galley and Dunn Books for an ARC for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Gotta be honest: Before I got an invitation to read and review this book, I'd never even heard of main character Pascual Rose. In part, that may be because he hasn't been heard from in quite a few years. Apparently, the former terrorist turned on former colleagues and, for the past two decades, has been living under the name of Pascual March (also apparently, Pascual must be a very common name in the Barcelona area, where he now makes his home. Otherwise, surely he would have changed his first name as well).

But the premise was enticing, and now that I'm finished I'm glad I said yes to this one. In many ways, Pascual isn't a very savory character, but over the years he's acquired a very talented woman (whom he did not marry) named Sara and a now-grown son, Rafael. Rather solidly ensconced in his new identity, lifestyle and work as a freelance translator, he's quite upset to get a text that will change the course of his life, and most likely not for the better. Two rather shady characters ask him to help them pull off a scheme to "move" an enormous amount of money into various bank accounts in exchange for one million euros. Oh yes - in case that's not enough of an incentive for him to say yes, there's a threat that if he doesn't, Sara and/or Rafael may suffer the consequences.

Left with no choice, Pascual agrees; but soon, things get even more complicated as other unsavory characters make appearances - from German intelligence agents who'd love nothing more than to nail him for old activities to Russian agents to whoever's really behind what essentially is an extremely high-stakes money-laundering caper. Confounding the matter is that Pascual isn't exactly at the top of his game anymore, so he needs to depend on other people who may or may not have his interests at heart.

The very complex plot takes him to several countries and puts him up against several adversaries (both known and unknown), with the action picking up considerable steam as time to close the deal - and Pascual to remain alive - start to run out. For sure, it held my attention all the way.
Was this review helpful?