Cover Image: Armored

Armored

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If you’re into reading about action-adventure, high-wire, death-defying and suicidal combat missions, Armored,, is the perfect novel to wind up your summer reading season with.  It features a nice guy named Josh Duffy, who’s in a desperate situation.  He’s a kick-ass military contractor who lost his left leg on his last mission a few years ago.  Now, he works as a rent-a-cop in a suburban Virginia shopping mall.  Barely able to eke out a living and feed his family—he’s unhappy and unemployable as a hired gun because of his prosthesis—and he’s getting more despondent by the day.
Then, by chance, Duffy runs into an old acquaintance, a fellow mercenary who tells him of an upcoming mission, body guarding UN dignitaries on a peace mission to recover sixty stolen shoulder-fired stinger missiles in the hands of one of the Mexican Drug Cartels.
Concealing his artificial left leg, Josh hires on with a notorious outfit, who, in spite of their poor reputation, has been contracted to protect the delegation tasked with retrieving the missiles and bringing peace to the beleaguered region.  Then, high on a ridge called the Devil’s Spine in the rugged Sierra Madre Mountains of western Mexico, the home of the infamous and deadly Black Knights Cartel, Duffy learns the real goal of the mission.   He’s been tricked.  Now he’s trapped, with three different Cartels closing in for the kill, as Duffy and the remnants of his team try to navigate their way back to safety against overwhelming odds.  The gun fights never cease, the plot twists never stop and the treachery is world-class in this kinetic and electrifying yarn we can only hope is the start of a new series!!!
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This action-packed adventure was truly a ride to go on! I absolutely could not put it down. My favorite thing about Armored is that Greaney made the female characters ball-busters, and he did so because he knows that women aren't all damsels in distress. It was something I was worried about when I first decided to read the book, and then chat with him about it, but it turns out I had no reason to worry, and he was a joy to talk to.
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This book has Greaney breaking through the typical armored walls of a solid series and veering into different territory with very different characters. Greaney's skill as a writer shines through as he well portrays domestic life that transforms into a world Greaney writes most about. Though the results are be very different than the world of the Gray Man.

The setup is well written of domestic bliss with financial woes. Adding what has brought the husband and wife to this point in their lives. A skillfully crafted altercation is a surprising shift int he story and location and situation is a startling turn. 

From that point the story is much more Gray Man-ish with an assortment of characters Greaney has played with before. So much so, I thought the center body of the book was too familiar and dragged a bit. The last 40% is where the book takes off as certain elements are revealed and a monkey wrench falls into the bad guys plans. Greaney writes this a bit hurriedly and the believably of what occurs is a bit much. The results are certainly exciting and does resolve a nasty situation the good guys find themselves in. This latter is not Gray Man-ish.

Apparently this is the start of another series. Seems to me the direction of that is obvious, though no mention is made in the book. As this one was attained through NetGalley.com, I will seek it there or buy it. I look forward to seeing what happens next!

Bottom line: I recommend the book 8 out of ten points.
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*Thank you to Berkley publishers, Mark Greaney and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review*

Previously published at https://www.mysteryandsuspense.com/armored/

Blessed be she who is both furious and magnificent.”

― Taylor Rhodes, Calloused: a field journal

When I read “new to me” authors like Mark Greaney, I research their background to see who their following is and what kinds of books they have written. After learning this author is considered one of the best thriller/action authors around, I was so excited to dig into Armored. Greaney is best known for his Gray Man series, which is being made into a movie,  and continuing Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series. Armored introduces us to Joshua Duffy, a father of two and a Close Projection Agent (bodyguard) and former elite soldier. While on duty in Lebanon, his principal comes under attack and while his principal doesn’t make it, Duffy is able to get the principal’s wife out alive, though he loses his lower left leg.

We move forward a few years and revisit Duffy, who is now struggling to find work with his disability. Though he has a full-time job as a mall cop, he and his dynamic wife, Nikki, a former Blackhawk pilot, are struggling to make ends meet with two young children. When he runs into a former colleague, Mike Gordon, Gordon tells him about a job he is about to embark on with Armored Saints, a security agency with a terrible reputation for not dishonesty and not protecting their employees. Though Duffy knows their reputation, he convinces Gordon to put in a word for him, knowing the money will be too good to pass up. The job will work security for a UN delegation for a meeting with Mexican cartel leaders. Duffy, desperate for money and purpose, begs for an interview. When he is hired on the spot as a Team Lead, he knows he has bitten off more than he can chew. There is very little about the three-week excursion that will end positively. But he is out of shape and down a leg, which makes him even more vulnerable. Only one day into Mexico, and they are already under attack and in serious trouble.

Armored has it all: constant action, interesting characters, funny moments, and a high body count. The characters are well developed and you begin to notice a common theme among them; they are all misfits. Every man, handpicked by Armored Saints, has a strike against them, similar to Duffy losing his leg. A bevy of alcoholics, bullies, and men who are deemed “unhireable”. While I have not read the Gray Man series, I understand it is like Armored, with tons of action, red herrings, and dead bodies. Josh’s wife, Nichole, is also a badass, and she becomes an indomitable character in this novel. Armored is told from two points of view; Nichole back in Virginia and Duffy in Mexico. When it becomes clear to Nichole that Josh is way over his head, she wants to save him.

There are so many things I enjoyed about this book. I loved the cast of misfits on Duffy’s team; they are clearly out of their league but have so much heart. I also enjoyed Nichole’s devotion and support to her husband, especially in the last scenes. There is big action throughout, never stopping. And their sheer will to survive is admirable. I would love to see more of this team in another book, with Duffy as the lead.
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Mark Greaney of Gray Man fame has expanded his considerable talent and produced an action-packed, volatile, and realistic standalone thriller, Armored. Josh Duffy is an ex- infantry soldier due to an injured leg. A prestigious and influential security firm reaches out to Josh, and he accepts a protection job in Mexico. He is assigned to protect officials meeting with dominant leaders of various drug cartels that populate the country. Not surprisingly, events unfurl, and shots are fired. The action never stops, and the reader is treated to some of the most realistic and frightening action scenes found in any thriller. Greaney is a superior thriller writer who easily adapts from scenario to scenario, which makes him a writer of immense ability.
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As a long time fan of Mark Greaney's Gray Man series, I couldn't wait to read the first book in this new series . I wasn't disappointed. Great characters, a fast paced plot, plenty of action, and some unexpected twists kept me reading late into the night. Highly recommended for fans of Mark Greaney, Nick Petrie, or John Gilstrap. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley books for an advanced reader copy.
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I was first introduced to Mark Greaney’s writing via The Gray Man series, and I fell in love with his writing style. As Greaney progressed through the series, he only gets better. So, when I heard that Greaney wrote a new novel with a new character, there was no question I would read it. As I have come accustomed to his blistering writing style with The Gray Man, Greaney did not disappoint with ARMORED. In ARMORED, we get to see Greaney flex his writing muscle with a new set of characters, and it is amazing!

In ARMORED, we first meet Josh Duffy, who is a retired Army sergeant, who is now working as a private military security contractor. As he and his team move their charge to safety, they come under blistering fire, and Duffy is the the lone survivor. He manages to save the person he was protecting, but he pays the ultimate price: he loses his left lower leg bellow the knee. 

No one wants to hire a “has been” contractor with a prosthetic leg, so to keep supporting his family, he takes a job as a mall security guard. One day on his rounds, Duffy bumps into an old friend from his contractor days. He hears of this dangerous job protecting a UN delegation as they travel through a mountain range smack dab in the middle of Cartel controlled county aptly called “The Devils Spine”. 

Duffy is hired on as a Team Leader, but he must battle his fears of inadequacy, and his fears that his team will find out about his leg. There is no room for weakness on this job. Can Josh push aside his fears and lead these men through Cartel controlled territory, or will he crack under pressure?

ARMORED was absolutely amazing! As we start the novel, the stage is set, and the tension continuously builds until the reader can’t take it any more, and then all hell breaks lose! ARMORED has cemented Mark Greaney as one stellar writer! I can’t wait to see more of Josh Duffy!
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This Is a great start to a new series by Mark Greaney. Amazing action sequences, lots of military terminology and a lot of thrilling details to begin this new series! If you like Mark’s Gray Man series you will really enjoy this one! Mark keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. This will be an excellent addition to your summer reading list. Go get it!
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Another well-written thriller by the creator of the Grey Man series, Greaney delivers a new hero and another action filled book.
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Armored is the beginning of a new series from Mark Greaney.

"Josh Duffy is now a Mall cop after losing a leg during an assignment for a military contractor. He runs into an old buddy who convinces him to do one more run with a different contractor. This contract will have them escorting UN officials on a secretive mission deep into cartel country. It's very dangerous but financially very lucrative - and Duffy is desperate for money to care for his family. But he has no idea what's really going on or just how much danger he's in..."

This might be the first story I've read where the private security contractors are the main characters. There do seem to be some stereotypes here but it's not overly done. 
Duffy is the one with a different code. The one that the others look to when it looks like there's no way out.

Lots of action in this one - Lots. I did not see the couple of twists that Greaney throws in there near the end. You think it's a straightforward story and then BOOM - you're headed another way.

Duffy's wife, Nichole, is also an integral part and together they make a formidable team. Hope to see more of them in future books.

A wild ride from Greaney.
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If you like action thrillers this book is for you. Loved Duff and his wife was amazing too. Lots of twists and turns. I highly recommend it.
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A fabulous standalone or beginning of a new series which still has all the hallmarks of a Mark Greaney thriller. Plenty of action, interesting plotline and well fleshed out characters mean this one will draw in many thriller readers.
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ARMORED is the beginning of a new series by popular author Mark Greaney, of Grey Man and assorted  Tom Clancy book fame.  The hero in this book, Joshua Duffy, has sustained a career-killing injury and at the onset of this book is depressed, frustrated and, without sufficient family income, working as a mall cop.  He lies about his skills and finds a way to get himself a private contractor gig, hoping to get back to his preferred work and earn some decent money. Greaney is an excellent writer, with taut and tense scenes and details about weaponry, field conditions and characters that make all of his books spark and come alive.  Usually they are impossible to put down for any reason.  I have no idea why I had such trouble sticking with this book;  I could not get into it no matter how I tried.  I didn’t love the characters as much as usual and I found the mission less than engaging. I am clearly in the minority of reviewers.  I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
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With the intensity level dialed up to an 11, Armored is a thriller that reads like a hit summer blockbuster film.  Mark Greaney has absolutely and unsurprisingly nailed the start of a new series with a smart, capable and determined, yet imperfect, protagonist that you root for with all your heart to succeed.  

Josh Duffy is a mall cop trying to make ends meet and support his family.  But he’s more than meets the eye.  Previously he served in the Army and then as a close protection agent and elite operator, until a mission went bad in Lebanon and he lost his lower left leg saving one of his protectees.  So when he bumps into an old friend who gives him an opportunity to get back into the game, he jumps at the chance to see some action and make serious money he desperately needs.  The only catch is that he’s joining a private military contractor that has a less-than-stellar reputation.  But Josh needs the money and he signs on for a mission deep into Mexican cartel country to protect government and United Nations officials attempting to negotiate a peace.  There’s no chance this will be a walk in the park.  The only question is how bad it will be and if Josh and his fellow operators survive the inevitable violence.

There are numerous features that make Armored a hell of a read.  The military weapons, gear, vehicles and tactics come across as impressively authentic.  The Sierra Madre Mountains acts as its own character, providing an unforgiving locale with danger lurking around every turn, peak and valley.  The characters – whether it’s Duffy, the other contract operators, the delegation they’re charged to protect, the cartel leadership and sicarios, and others – are expertly crafted and developed to fit the story flawlessly.  The plot is powerfully treacherous, driving anxiety through the roof and testing the characters in incredible ways.  And the writing is sublime, hiding motives until the perfect time to reveal game-changing twists that increase your desire for certain characters to be victorious while simultaneously praying for others to face an imminent and permanent demise.  It’s straight non-stop action with no let up, providing hours of high-speed entertainment.

Mark Greaney is one of the absolute best in the business, so it’s expected that everything he writes will be pure gold.  However unfair it is to assume greatness will be attained with every novel, it’s a product of his own consistent success and ability to raise the bar time and time again.  Incredibly, Greaney unflinchingly continues to produce banger after banger after banger.  I don’t know how he does it, but thriller fans are the great beneficiaries.  And Armored is the latest gift he’s given to us readers.
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Joshua Duffy is a Close Protection Agent—a professional bodyguard—and he's one of the world's elite operatives until his last mission in Lebanon. Against all odds, Josh got his primary out alive, but the cost was high. Josh lost his lower left leg.  There's not much call for an elite bodyguard with such an injury so, Josh has to support his family working as a mall cop in New Jersey. For a man like Josh, this is purgatory on earth, but miracles can occur even in Paramus. A lucky run-in with an old comrade promises to get Josh back in the field for one last job. The UN is sending a peace mission into the Sierra Madre mountains in Mexico, an area so dangerous it's known as Espinazo del Diablo—the Devil's Spine. Only a fool would think they could broker peace between the homicidal drug cartels in the region, and only a madman would sign on to keep those fools alive.

I am a big fan of Mark Greaney's books, especially the Gray Man series.   I realized when I started this that it was the first in a new series.  It has all the action of the Gray Man series, with a new character who is a body guard for the elite.  The story has a couple of twists and turns that I was not expecting and kept me reading late into the night to finish and see what happens!  Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for granting my request for the newest book by this author who I am hoping to hear talk about this book in July at my local Indie bookstore.
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Mark Greaney, who is one of the best thriller authors around, gives us a new series that is unlike anything he's written previously. Best known for his Gray Man series and continuing Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan series, Armored introduces us to Joshua Duffy, a Close Projection Agent (bodyguard) and former elite soldier. While on duty in Lebanon, his principal comes under attack and some how gets his man out alive despite losing his lower left leg. 

Fast forward and Duffy is back home and struggling. One-legged elite bodyguards aren't exactly in demand, so Duffy is working as a mall security guard to support his family. Eager to feel like his old self, Duffy runs into a former friend who is about to start a new job working security for a UN delagation for a meeting with cartel leaders. Duffy, desperate for money and the feeling of purpose, begs for an interview. Out of shape and down a leg, Duffy knows he's probably bitten off more than he can chew but signs up anyway. Once in Mexico, it doesn't take long for the crap to hit the fan and the realization he and his team are in series trouble. 

Armored contains everything Greaney is known for: intense action, a high body count, great dialogue and the characters are well developed. If are looking for something akin to Greaney's Gray Man, Armored isn't it. The Gray Man is a one-man wrecking ball while Duffy is more of a field general type. Both The Gray Man and Joshua Duffy are badasses but their badassery are almost mirror opposites of each other. I'm really looking forward to see what Greaney haa in store for Joshua Duffy.

My sincere thanks to Mark Greaney, Berkley Publishing Group, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of Armored.
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Greaney proves once again why he is one of the very best thriller writers. This is a great start to what will surely be a fun and action packed series. 

With complex plotlines, well developed characters, and adrenaline pumping scenes... every thriller fan should pick this one up.
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I've always thought Mark Greaney is a fine thriller writer, but I have to say I don't think this was really his best effort. The narrative is a bit single-minded and one-dimensional, at least for my taste, It's more like reading a comic book than a novel. A very good comic book to be sure, but still a comic book.
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Joshua Duffy was a top professional body guard, one of the best, until he lost part of a leg on an assignment. Now he is working as a mall cop. When he is offered an opportunity to get back into the action he grabs it with both hands, his family needs the money.  This book is no stop action from the first page.  All is not as it seems and Duffy and his men have to fight for their lives. If you like action packed intense thrillers this is for you.  Thank you to net galley for an advanced readers copy.
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ARC ebook Review - “Armored,” an original thriller by author Mark Greaney is a standalone action thriller separate from his Gray Man series. As usual, Greaney's writing gives the reader the feeling that they are in the thick of it all with main character, Joshua Duffy, a former military infantry soldier who became a private military contractor protecting VIPs in this storyline. Duffy, a former military ‘badass’ is down on his luck after losing part of his leg but doesn’t let his disability stop him from providing for his family. While working as a shopping mall security guard, Duffy is unexpectedly hired by a high risk security service for a dangerous mission in the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico. The story is about drug cartel warfare, drug lords with SAM missiles, political double crosses, and numerous hidden agendas by all who’s involved. Duffy and his high threat security detail are escorting high-ranking VIPs to summit with the cartel in an armored vehicle caravan. As expected, things go bad, really bad as the armored caravan travels in cartel territory. The story itself is original, very appealing, and really good! There is plenty of action and suspense and it kept me on edge the entire time. Given Mark Greaney’s track record, this standalone story was no surprise in how good it was. Different, good and a very worthwhile read, Armored is a great read!  Thank you NetGalley, Berkley Publishing and author Mark Greaney for the digital advance copy of Armored.
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