Cover Image: Burner


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I can't wait until the next one. That's what I think after all of Mark Greaney's books. Some are stronger than others. I think Burner was decent and did a good job of following up one of the better ones Sierra Six.

What Greaney does better than a lot of his peers are his main characters. There is so much heart in these characters, you can't help but love them or hate them--you still root for them.

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Over and over, Greaney reminds us why he is one of the best in the business. Another nonstop, barn burner of a thriller, Greaney's Court Gentry continues to be one of the finest crafters of thriller novel.

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I'll not forget reading 'The Gray Man' so long ago. The book was rooted in atmospheric writing wonder. So very different from the Vince Flynn novels I had been reading. Then the Gray Man series continued. Today, 'Burner' is the newest out and I am disappointed. The newest entry reads more as a Matthew Reilly chase book and far, far away from the initial Gray Man novel.

The huge difference is the backdrop of war in the Ukraine and banking shenanigans. The structure of the banking and money games Greaney writes is very, very good. The best part of the book. There is loosey-goosey in some of the explanation. Likely the ersult of not giving anyone an acrual blueprint to follow. I found it interesting that Greaney, for some reason, entirely avoided including our Federal Reserve, which would have had to have been involved considering what Greaney wrote of. I would bet he did include the Fed, but was nixed by editors.

'Burner' is a thrilling book, but the sense of reality needs to be suspended. There's action galore with a McGuffin kicked about a rather thin plot. Despite the flimsy plot, Greaney grabs his characters and shoves them through scheme after scheme after scheme. In this case, each scheme gets more and more preposterous. The ending scheme actually involves flooding an airport hangar, though I won't mention with what.

I do like the John Gilstrap 'Jonathan Graves' series and find it great fun. Gilstrap is clearly having fun and preposterous is expected and delivered. The 'Gray Man' series has slid into a similar series, but not as well done as Gilstrap's. Part of that is the ability of reading Gilstrap's bit of tongue in cheek efforts. Also, Gilstrap's situations fit better than the ones written in this. The finale in 'Burner' is clunky due to taking itself too seriously.

There are some consistency issues in this book. The Brewer character is altered from earlier books to fit the plot. Court Gentry has been de-aged a few years. There are also plot holes, but the pace of the book rips past, and are easily missed.

Overall, this is a fun book and it's hard to put down. If I am to accept the quick and dirty writing approach to chug books out, as compared to the first 'Gray Man' novel, then I could accept books involving shooting firearms with toes at the trigger.

With that thought in mind...

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 6 out of ten points.

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My ears are still ringing and I feel a little dizzy from the 512 pages of explosive action in Mark Greaney’s “Burner," the 12th in his “Gray Man” series. The hero is Court Gentry, aka Six, aka Violator, aka the Gray Man, CIA trained “professional saboteur, private assassin and (currently) international fugitive.”

Greaney collaborated with Tom Clancy on three Jack Ryan novels and continued the series for several books after Clancy’s death in 2013. “The Gray Man,” the first in Greaney’s current series, was adapted as a movie by Netflix, starring Ryan Gosling as Court.

Coming in innocent to the series, I first met Court in the Caribbean, where he was engaged in blowing up ships hidden in the islands by Russian oligarchs. In a timely bit of parallel history, Russia and Ukraine are central to “Burner,” as a Ukrainian-born banker who has inside information about Russian money being funneled to the West is determined to expose the scheme, no matter the personal peril.

He takes the high ground, but “Burner” is full of people who operate in gray areas (gray, get it?), who “don’t dwell on morality, only expediency.” You’ll need to hang on as pieces of the plot converge from all directions, from balmy islands to icy Switzerland to New York City, bringing Court back into contact with an old foe, Matador, and eventually with his lost love, Zoya (aka Banshee.)

Greaney is masterly at writing action, with scenes like a car chase on a winding, hilly road in Saint Lucia coming alive in cinematic fashion. An epic gun battle on a train is so prolonged, it’s actually exhausting, involving as it does submachine guns, broken glass and mayonnaise.

But Greaney doesn’t skimp on character development either, and I appreciated that three major characters are women, all quite different from one another. Court is a solid, appealing hero, sensitive enough to admit his loneliness and brutal enough to kill those who need killing.

“Burner,” though, is just too long. Getting through 500-plus pages sometimes felt like being held hostage. Surely some tightening and trimming would have made for even higher tension.

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I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book............................................................

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When a series is at number 12, and it's still this good, still this fresh and exciting, it's here to stay. It has been a minute since I've read an international espionage thriller, and to be honest, I'd forgotten just how nerve-wracking they can be. Burner was quick to remind me, and I found myself white-knuckling my Kindle for a whole lot of the 500+ pages. The story is fast-paced with loads of action and adventure. There are so many colorful characters - some to love and some to love to hate - and the writing is some of the best I've seen in the genre. The storyline is current, and for the most part, it's plausible, which is kind of scary when you think about it. The only drawback for me was the way the author portrays some of the women, even ones that are a major part of the story. I'd like to see the women come into the light, so to speak. Women can be very much the hero, and I just kind of felt like they were relegated to sidekick status for much of the story. That said, I still enjoyed the book. Greaney's writing is top-notch, and his gift for drawing a reader in is about as good as it gets. If you enjoy the genre, I'd certainly recommend this one.

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It has It's been a long time since I have read a book in International espionage/ CIA thriller genre.  Huge thank you to #TinaJoell at Penguin Random House for asking me to be on this tour for the new #grayman  book and my ARC of #Burner . 
This book was one hell of a ride with non stop action and at the end of the book I was at the edge of my seat.
It is easy to see why Netflix chose to make a movie from the first book since the twelfth book in the series is full of explosions, shootouts and the main characters barely making it out of situations alive .
The MMC Court Gentry is for any reader who loves the morally gray anti hero . Forget Mission Impossible and Jason Bourne, this burned agent is the one you want to carry out a covert mission . He works alone and misses the love of his life Zoya ( code name Anthem) who is just as deadly as he is, he disappeared from her life when he knew he was on a kill list from the CIA .
Zoya was on a job to capture a Ukrainian banker who had downloaded highly classified transactions between the West and Russia . She was not the only one hunting Alex Velesky . Code Name Matador Luka Rudenko , the head of the Russian special forces also showed up to kill Velesky. Zoya with her superior shooting skills took out his team and she gets away with Alex with the clock against them ticking.
Any thriller reader would enjoy the pace of this book , and the plot is actually following current events between Russia and Ukraine and the position the United States may be in with their war.
What would have made it a 5 Star book:
I didn't like how this author chose to portray Zoya and Angela Lacy as less credible than the male main character.  Honestly Zoya was fierce , I think her drug and alcohol use shouldn't have been made such a stigma , nor should her grief over the disappearance of Court made her appear to be a lesser character. I didn't like Angela Lacy's character being made to look flaky and unreliable .Just because she worked in operations doesn't make her less of a critical thinker. I am glad at the end the author used Angela's intelligence to save even the deadly trained killers Court and Zoya. I hope in his next book Zoya and Angela Lacy are portrayed as the fierce women they are;  this would help gain more female readers for this series.

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Burner by Mark Greaney feels like an impressive ode to spy craft in the midst of an absolutely captivating & thrilling tale.

This is the first book I’ve read by this author & although it is #12 in The Gray Man series, I had no trouble reading this as a standalone. Burner follows Court Gentry, who is hiding from the CIA & causing some trouble abroad, as he receives a phone call from none other than the CIA requesting the seemingly simple task of retrieving a burner phone. This burner phone turns out to be more valuable than imagined & multiple adversaries are fighting for control of if, including an ex lover of the infamous Gray Man. A suspenseful & gripping escapade follows on a worldwide ride.

This book hooked me within a few pages as I dived into this story, it felt like a big budget action movie began playing in my head. The alternating focuses on the different characters felt like a tennis match volleying back & forth as they raced toward a similar goal with opposite motives, loyalties & backgrounds. It ramped the tension & the stakes up considerably & had me eager to keep reading.

Burner is the epitome of riveting with action ranging from car chases to a parachute drop-in to underwater fighting & so much more.

If anyone is looking to get lost in a truly gripping, action-packed spy thriller, then I would recommend reading Burner by Mark Greaney!

Massive thanks to Berkley Publishing for the free book, which I voluntarily read & reviewed.

Trigger Warnings: This book mentions &/or contains murder, violence, gore, drugs, alcohol & addiction.

I will post on Amazon & Instagram on release day & add links once I do.

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Published by ‎ Berkley on February 21, 2023

A UN summit in New York will finalize an agreement between the West and Russia to restore Russia’s most favored nation status in exchange for Russia’s agreement to end its war with Ukraine. While Ukraine is not a party to the agreement and will likely fight on its own to regain its lost territory, the agreement does not require Russia to restore the land it seized. This is a bad deal for Ukraine, but the West wants Russian oil and gas. I can understand that premise, but when he plotted Burner, Mark Greaney probably didn’t know that western nations would get by just fine without Russian oil. Maybe the novel’s prediction will still come true, but those who hope for justice in Ukraine will be outraged if it does.

Court Gentry is certain that nobody in power cares about outrage against injustice. Power invites the kind of corruption that has always plagued Gentry, both during and after his tenure with the CIA. Gentry is still subject to a CIA kill order. His current CIA nemesis, Suzanne Brewer, pauses the longstanding order whenever she needs Gentry’s services. She sends a desk jockey, Angela Lacy, to meet with Gentry after tracking him to his boat in the Caribbean, where Gentry is fulfilling a contract from a wealthy Ukrainian to sink yachts owned by Russian oligarchs. Angela has no idea that man she’s meeting is the Gray Man.

A Russian who handles financial transactions for Russian spy agencies has copied those transactions to a phone. Having had his fill of Russian deviltry, the Russian gives the phone to the Swiss banker who processed those transactions. By matching the data in the phone to the bank records, a smart forensic accountant will be able to trace payment recipients in western nations who are taking bribes from Russians. It turns out that their numbers are plentiful. Naturally, those folk want to stop the banker before the records are made public.

The Swiss banker, Alex Velesky, is a Ukrainian who has no love for Russia. He sends the bank records to the cloud and plans to deliver the password and the phone to Ezra Altman, a forensic accountant employed by DOJ who has spent years building a database of suspicious Russian financial transactions.

Velesky must overcome several obstacles. First, Brewer has hired Gentry to recover the phone after telling Gentry that the phone includes evidence of CIA financial transaction in Russia that, if exposed, would place CIA operatives in danger and imperil national security. Second, Zoya Zakharova has been hired by a rival bank (or so she thinks) to recover the phone so that the bank can use the data to poach some of Russia’s banking business. Third, the Russians have tumbled to Velesky’s plan and have sent their best man to recover the phone.

Series fans will recall that Gentry and Zoya have a thing going on. They’ve both been deceived about the nature and purpose of their missions and, naturally enough, they will eventually stop fighting each other and start fighting together. The fighting includes the stuff from which thrillers are made — gun battles, knife fights, jumps between rooftops, even the overused crawl across the top of a train car while the train is in motion. Thankfully, there isn’t a ridiculous fistfight on top of the train, as Greaney avoids crossing the line that separates improbable realism and impossible movie stunts.

While Burner is fundamentally an action novel, Zoya’s alcoholism and substance abuse (and Gentry’s fears and frustration with Zoya’s addictions) add depth to the characters. Greaney sets up Lacy to play a courageous role despite Zoya’s skepticism that she has what it takes. He also sets up an ending that demands sacrifice in the name of principle — the kind of principles for which Russians and their corrupt counterparts in the US and Europe have no use. All of that makes Burner a saccharin-free “feel good” story, although a fair amount of indiscriminate death precedes the relatively happy outcome.

Greaney is one of the best action thriller writers in the business and, unlike too many novelists who write about tough guys, he doesn’t depend on divisive politics and gun worship to attract an audience. Series fans won’t be disappointed, while new readers can easily enjoy Burner without reading all the Gray Man novels that precede it.


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Burner is book 12 in the Gray Man series from Mark Greaney.

"Alex Veleskey has stolen records from his employer, a notorious Swiss bank, hoping to expose a massive corruption. He didn't count on so many people wanted to keep the records hidden. Court Gentry, the Gray Man, may be the only person able to keep him and the data out of the wrong hands."

Did you see the Gray Man movie on Netflix? That should give you some idea of the flavor of a Gray Man novel. This one feels like old-school Ludlum - Corruption at the highest levels, multiple countries, innocents hoping to do the right thing and an operative just trying to stay alive.

Greaney is fantastic at writing action and once he starts he seldom lets up. Court seldom has a chance to catch a breath. The fight on the high speed train will have you gasping for breath - it never lets up.

I would call this an action/espionage/chase thriller. Lots of pages but Greaney's fast-paced writing makes them fly by.

A great addition to the series. Great for anyone that craves an action story.

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Book Review – Burner – Mark Greaney
In Mark Greaney’s 12th Gray Man series novel, “Burner,” main character Court Gentry is caught between the Russian mafia and the CIA who are both chasing a banker who stole records from his Swiss bank employer, hoping to expose a load of incredible corruption. The banker stores the sought after information on a burner phone, and everybody – the Russians and the CIA wants it! Gentry, an ex–CIA operator, but now a freelance contractor, is pulled off another job to help find the ‘burner’ phone. Finding the burner phone with stolen banking information on it proves to be more of a charge than Gentry expected. Gentry ends up going up against some of the best Russian assassins in the business and what's even more odd is his old flame Zoya Zakaharova has also resurfaced into the picture (although not in the best condition) and is involved in seeking out the burner device on behalf of someone else. The suspense and excitement in this thriller are relentless and so is the action! This is a ‘true’ action thriller! As usual, Greaney’s writing is clever, intelligent, and sensible. The plotline was original, distinctive, and thought-provoking. And Greaney’s character development is sensational – it just keeps getting better and better with every new book! Greaney’s “Gray Man” series is my favorite thriller series. It’s synonymous with ridiculous action, well written plots, and a cast of regular characters that makes the series second to none in the action thriller genre. I really enjoyed Burner; it was another wonderful tale by Mark Greaney. I can never get tired of this series… Special thank you to NetGalley for the honor in receiving a digital Advance Reader’s Copy of this remarkable story.

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The twelfth book in the Gray Man series might just be the best one yet. This addition to an excellent series has well developed characters, a fast moving plot and a lot of action. If you haven't read any other Gray Man books, I suggest you start with the first one, "The Gray Man", and read them all in order. If not, you can easily read this as a stand alone and have no problem following the action. At 528 pages, I expected there to be lulls in the action or a slowing of the pace, but I blew through it in two days and it seemed shorter than it is because of the non stop action. Highly recommended

Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Books for an advanced reader copy.

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What’s your preferred book length?

For me its right about 350 pages. My only reading goal this year was to not be intimidated as much by length, and try to read some longer books. This one comes in at 528 pages, and it was a fast read. I love when books do that for me.

Alex is about to discover the hard way what happens when you kick a rock. He’s stolen records from his employer thinking he has found a conspiracy…but what he uncovers is not that. When you think things can go bad, just imagine that but worse. Now he’s being hunted from everyone from the Russian mafia to the CIA. When Court Gentry (Gray Man) gets called to help, even he’s not sure that he’ll be able to save him.

This was my first Gray Man novel, but it won’t be my last. This was a fun fast paced action suspense thriller. The writing style is fantastic and can’t be missed. Its well-researched and very vividly done so you feel like you are right there. I fell that the main character, Court, was also well done. The amount of emotional depth that was shown in his character was phenomenal and thoroughly thought out.

I really enjoyed the plot of this book because it is rooted in current events. Not exactly what is happening but, it helped give a different perspective to the events we’re living in right now.

Check this amazing book February 21st.

Thank you to the publisher Berkley Publishing, @berkleypub, and Netgalley @netgalley for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Somehow once again the Grey Man (Court Gentry) is called on to protect a Russian defector who is bringing with him a computerized list that contains to accounting data of monies paid by the Russian government to politicians in the US government. The Russians (GRU, SVR) and those in the US who know that their names are on the list, set out to stop Gentry and destroy the data.

Once again it is the Grey Man against the world where it seems that every spy agency in Russia and the US have banded together to prevent the dissemination of this data to the world. As his assistance he is given a 'green behind the ears' agent who has never fired her gun. But low and behold Zoya shows up to help him protect the scientist. Together we know they will be able to stop anyone from destroying the data.

What makes this a really great read, is that Greaney is able to make you forget about the real world and root for the two ex-spies against all odds, not to mention guns, planes, grenades, etc.

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Another fantastic entry in the Gray Man series. After last years prequel novel it was nice to get back to the current day and check in on what Court and his crew were up to. Action scenes are well writeen and plentiful setting up an interesting climax

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Court Gentry is a man without a country. Now the country that has hunted him needs his help. Data from a bank in Switzerland covering Russian money and where it is going, has been taken, and it might just take down some of the United States most prominent people. Gentry is on the hunt for truth while after years of running has him looking over his shoulder every bit of the way.

On the run and attempting to stay out of the crosshairs of the American CIA, The Gray Man is busy sinking mega million dollar yachts owned by Russian Oligarchs. Minding his own business in the Caribbean, Court is interrupted by a young and dashing CIA officer with a lead from Suzanne Brewer. What ensues is a job offer to one of the disowned assets that she’s spent years trying to hunt down while potential damning Russian money funneling schemes are about to be broadcasted to the world.

While the world awaits a potential ceasefire from the war in Ukraine, Gentry takes the offer from Brewer and aligns himself with the interests of the United States to not be hunted during the time of the mission. Gentry, back in the temporary graces of the CIA, heads to a beautiful island getaway. There is a saying that ‘No plan survives first contact with the enemy’ and Court is challenged immediately by the never forgiving Luka Rudenko, Codename Matador. If you’ve never heard of or experienced the viciousness of Matador, you’re in for a treat.

Jet setting from the Caribbean to Switzerland, Court and CIA officer Angela Lacy are primed for a head to head with the Russian GRU while trying to find the information that Alex Velesky stole. As the pursuit continues to even more dangerous territory, a woman who is also a treasure from the past unknowingly stares right into Gentry’s eyes for the first time in forever. How the battle is won is a full-fledged knockout fight.

Greaney continues to impress every single time a book hits the shelf. Burner is an action flick on steroids that they’ve stamped inside of a book. The political environment that the world is dealing with every single day is on display but not in a manner that would force you to be tired of. Greaney has been there and done that to provide true authenticity to his books. His travel and attention to detail clearly have provided him the ability to create true environments in his stories.

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The movie was phenomenal! One of the best we've watched in a very long time!
When I seen Mark Greaney was releasing Burner I had to jump at this opportunity.

Burner by Mark Greaney was one of those unputdownable action-packed adventure with lots of intrigue.
Mark’s writing style and character development is insane! I loved the characters within this storyline and thought they were well developed and brought along fun.
The main character has intensity and is relatable, even as much as he is unique, talented and interesting.
Tense and rambunctious, wildly entertaining, and at a breakneck-paced, Mark Greaney splendid Burner is pure storytelling and it was a pleasure from beginning to end!
Full of action and suspense. Well written with vivid details this was a captivating and fun time!

"I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."

Thank You Netgalley and Berkley for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this eARC!

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Court Gentry is back again in Burner and this might be the best book Mary Greaney has ever written. I absolutely LOVE the Gray Man series and this one does not disappoint. Court Gentry does his usual badass things in this book and this one leaves you begging for more. Mark Greaney and his Court Gentry series is on the of the best thriller series in print today! GO GET THIS BOOK!!!

Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book early and for the ARC.

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Burner is a scorching hot read that should come with a fire warning because you will be… burning… through the pages. Bad jokes aside, this is a story that should be consumed in a single sitting. You should go ahead and clear your day now.

Mark Greaney adds a new wrinkle to Burner and delves more into the gray matter of the Gray Man.This story is full of heart, hope, and heaps of hot lead. Now, for the adrenaline junkies… fear not. Greaney provides some absolutely iconic action sequences, fight scenes, and vehicular pursuits in this one. The added bonus is that there is a bit more emotional turmoil within those events, making them that much more meaningful. And amusing.

When Court Gentry is manipulated into once again joining forces with the CIA to hunt down a drive containing Russian money laundering transactions, the last thing he expected was to be trying to take out the man his former lover is trying to keep alive. Initially on opposing sides of killing vs protecting Swiss banker Alex Velesky, Court and Zoya Zakharova must put their past behind them and future on hold in order to survive the present.

Velesky is on the run after stealing data from his employer that could expose a great deal of powerful people, both in the East and the West, and the dirty money that has been flowing across the globe. They will do anything to keep the information from coming out. That includes killing anyone and everyone tangentially related to those who have possession of the device. Caught between a GRU hit squad and CIA assassins, the unlikely trio must stay ahead of their pursuers if they hope to finish the mission, assuming they don’t end up killing each other before then.

I, for one, appreciate the continued evolution and humanization of Court over the last few books. The additional focus on the emotional and psychological trauma Gentry has suffered and is currently enduring has added another layer and level of tension and intrigue to these novels. Already a master at building suspense in his books, Greaney continues to push this series to new heights with deeper storylines. There seems to be no limit to his talent and no guessing what might be next in this iconic series.

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I mean, sometimes you just want meat and potatoes. That's what the Gray Man is for—he's what you'd get if Jack Reacher worked for or was being hunted by the CIA. Not the best in the series, not the worst.

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