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The 9th Man

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Member Reviews

I have always been fascinated with the assassination of JFK and what might have happened.  This book was right up my alley! I enjoyed Luke and the wild ride with him on his quest to find the 9th man. Lots of action.  
Many thanks to Grand Central and to Netgalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Steve Berry is one of my favorite authors and I love his Magellan Billet series.  The 9th Man is about Luke Daniels, one of the Billet's agents who is in London and receives a frantic call from an old friend.  Jillian Stein is in trouble and her life may be in danger.  Luke heads to Belgium and finds that she was right.  Luke finds himself  in a war between two sides — one seeking the truth,  and the other trying to escape the past.  

Thomas Rowland is a Washington insider, but also a man with a past.  Everything changes for him on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas. on the day JFK was assassinated .   There is more to the story and Thomas Rowland is at the center of that terrible reality.  Rowland will do anything to keep the world from learning what actually happened on that fateful day, including killing anyone in his way.  This is just another in a long line of awesome books by Steve Berry.
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I've been a big fan of Steve Berry ever since reading his first book The Amber Room years ago so I was excited to see him start this new spinoff series for his character Luke Daniels.  Luke has appeared in several Cotton Malone novels so this new book The 9th Man offers readers a better look into his character.  

Luke Daniels gets a call from a former friend/flame and rushes to her aid, only to find himself embroiled in a much bigger problem than he first imagined.  The implications of what Luke discovers have far reaching consequences.  Like any Steve Berry novel, there are many different locales and this book is full of the fast paced action I've come to expect.  I am definitely looking forward to more Luke Daniels novels and to see how his character continues to develop.

I received this book courtesy of the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I just love this author! Everything he writes is beyond amazing. If you haven't read his books you need to start and not stop until you finish all of them. Seriously, they are so amazing. Great plot, mystery and twists that will throw you for a loop you won't believe. I usually read his books in just one sitting. Nothing else gets done in my house when a new Steve Berry books comes out.
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Thanks to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for an early review copy in exchange for an honest review. 

4 stars

The first standalone book for Luke Daniels.  I miss Cotton Malone.  Luke gets a call from an old friend Jillian and gets tangled up in the JFK assassination cover up.  Enjoyed the story.
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After getting to know Luke in the Cotton Malone series, it’s exciting to see him getting is own stand alone adventure. As always, I absolutely love Steve Berry’s writing style. His mixing of adventure, history, and suspense is masterful! I look forward to reading more books in this new series,
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This story is told in third person and follows Luke and Jillian as they try to find out why her grandfather was murdered. The characters were fine though I didn’t get a good feel for their personalities other than professional confidence. Most were ex-military types who worked for either the government or as mercenaries for ex-government types. Luke was the ex-super-soldier-turned-spy with a past fondness for Jillian who was also a kick-ass ex-soldier who had a sharp mind and opinion of her own, which was okay with him until it countered his. This is certainly action-packed, filled with shoot outs and chases across locals from Belgium to Wyoming and the Bahamas. 

The first half of the book was all action with interesting settings, but lacking in intellectual stimulation. I’ve been spoiled with my last few action/adventure reads with tons of science, history and/or mythology along with action and world-wide settings. The second half of the book did pick up a little bit with technology and some history limited to multiple methodical recitations of the situation surrounding the assassination of JFK by characters that were present and government and journalists interviews and reports, though it was cleverly worked into the story.

While I found the story decent, though not complex, those with a vague interest in the JFK assassination and a straight-forward mystery plot will probably enjoy this action-packed adventure more than me.

Thank you to Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing for a copy provided for an honest review.
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I enjoyed this book and I could not put it down.  I really enjoyed the characters and the writing was really well done.  It made you want to keep reading.
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This book is the first book in the Luke Daniels series. In this book you follow Luke Daniels while he is helping his friend Jillian Stein in unraveling a mystery that uncovers the truth about the assassination of President John Kennedy. This book is fast paced and action packed. I enjoyed the twists and turns in this book and could not put it down. 

Thank you NetGalley for providing me with an Advanced Reader Copy!
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The book blurb gives the plot - smart former Ranger who now is in a special forces department of the FBI gets called by a former friend who is afraid someone is going to hurt her grandfather. Luke arrives, but the grandfather has been killed. He and the granddaughter globetrot to find out why the grandfather was targeted. There are plenty of hired assassins that are after them and others involved with a cover-up. 

This was very good. I went to bed last night before finishing it and was unhappy with something that happened. Then I got up early to finish the book. Another twist came and it all made sense. 

Very good.
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I have read and enjoyed many books by Steve Berry.  I was glad to finally see one about Luke Daniels. Excellent story as always with clever twist and turns, and plenty of action.  I always learn something from his books since they are based to a degree in historical fact. Interesting take on the Kennedy assassination coupled with an excellent story.  Can't wait for the next Luke Daniels book to come out in 2024 Thanks for another great read. Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC in return for an honest review.
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Amazing start to a new series based on a character from the Cotton Malone series.  Twist and turns along the way with all lose ends tied up at the end with no plot holes left.  Halfway along the way you realize the mystery actually involves a real life event and just gets better from there.  Great pace of adventure and information without feeling like reading a encyclopedia.  Definitely a page turner and highly recommend.
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This is a tiny bit of a spoiler, but it was the plot line that pulled me in to The 9th Man so I am going to mention that the story involves the JFK assassination. I clearly remember the day after school in 1963 when my mother told me the President was shot, and I have been fascinated with the theories about the assassination ever since. Berry, who outlined the plot and then wrote the book along with Blackwood, has written many novels in the political thriller genre, but I have never picked up one of his books. I am happy to have done so now.

The 9th Man is the first lead outing for the character Luke Daniels. An agent in a clandestine organization within the government, Luke is called on by a friend who needs his help when her grandfather is killed in a home invasion. Secret papers are found which lead our duo across Europe, Louisiana, the Caribbean and Montana where there is a good amount of battling action everywhere they go.

Yes, it is an action thriller, but it is also a very thoughtful story about an historical moment and its impact on the present. The ending is not expected. The authors were able to turn what could have been a plain action thriller with bad guys chasing good guys for some abstract reason into a thriller that has a purpose. I will be reading more of Steve Berry.

My score 4 of 5.

This ARC title was provided by at no cost, and I am providing an unbiased review. The 9th Man was published on June 27, 2023.
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The 9th Man by Steve Berry and Grant Blackwood is a book that focuses on Luke Daniels, a side character in the Cotton Malone books.  Luke was a ranger and now works for the Magellan Billet.  As a character, he is younger, more impetuous, and definitely able to handle any number of situations.

Luke, while on vacation for a few days, is contacted by an old friend needing help.  Luke jumps right into helping her only to find out the situation is much more complicated than first expected.  Quite frankly the situation is perilous.  Luke and his friend, Jillian are thrown into a treasure hunt for some older artifacts that do not seem to have a clear purpose, but people are willing to kill to get them!  As Luke and Jillian seem to find clues, they are followed and shot at no matter how clandestine they try to be.

As the pieces of the puzzle start to fit together, there are great showdowns in several places.  (Including a great scene with a gator.)  Luke and Jillian are struggling to solve the situation and survive.  The ending has a twist that I didn’t foresee (although maybe I should have).  

I really enjoyed reading The 9th Man by Steve Berry and Grant Blackwood.  Luke was a great character and the storyline rocked.  I am hopeful there will be more books written with Luke.
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The first standalone novel featuring Luke Daniels, who has been featured more and more in the long running Cotton Malone series by Steve Berry. Daniels is a younger and less experienced version of Malone, and this story also concerns a historical mystery as the Malone series always does, but it is a bit more contemporary. An easy enjoyable beach read and I look forward to the next installment.
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In the book The 9th Man, author Steve Berry begins the Luke Daniels series, a spin-off of the  Cotton Malone series. Daniels receives a frantic call from his sometimes girl-friend Jillian Stein. When Luke arrives at her house, he has to fight his way through a group of trained assassins only to find Steins grandfather is dead and she is gone. Now the race is on to find Stein and why her grandfather was killed. And why is everyone searching for a rifle? This is another great book by Steve Berry with the beginning of a new series. I would recommend this book. I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a fast paced, action thriller starring Luke Daniels, a secondary character from Steve Berry's Cotton Malone series. Great characters and several unexpected twists kept me turning the pages and I read it in one setting. I found this a little different than most Steve Berry books, which I suppose has to do with it being co-authored, in that there was a lot more military-style action and killing. That didn't make it less enjoyable, just different. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for an advanced reader copy.
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Berry and Blackwood are an explosive combination! I really enjoyed the pulse-pounding action and love Luke Daniels. The historical conspiracy was a pleasant surprise.
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I've been wondering when Luke Daniels was going to get to take center stage in a Steve Berry novel. Especially after his major supporting turn (almost a co-starring role) in Berry's last Cotton Malone book, The Last Kingdom. Well, here it is, Cotton getting a very small cameo in an adventure devoted to the younger agent, his protégé, nephew of former president Danny Daniels.

In The 9th Man, Luke gets drawn into a trademark Steve Berry historical mystery by an old flame and immediately finds himself under fire from the mercenaries serving a shadowy figure controlling much of the black ops around the world. The mystery is one that will fascinate almost every reader -- who really shot JFK?

Berry explains two things in detail in the afterword that he customarily supplies his readers. He always tells us what in his book is fact, what is speculation, and what is his own fictional invention. The JFK story at the heart of this mystery is actually drawn from a real life investigation published in the 1990s. I'll leave it at that rather than spoil it, even though a quick Google search can tell you all about it.

The other thing he tells us is why he chose to co-write this book, his first collaboration on a full length novel (he has co-written Cassiopeia Vitt novellas in the past) -- to meet the demand for his books in a world where his research typically takes him 18 months between releases. He tells us that the two authors worked together on the story line, but that Grant Blackwood wrote the entire first draft, after which the authors alternated working on subsequent drafts.

So that explains why this is not a typical 5-star Steve Berry read for me, a big fan who has read all of his novels (all 20-something of them): too much action, probably coming from Blackwood. The first act and third act are pretty much all action. The problem is, you know that Luke is going to survive it all, so there's no suspense, only potential interest in the details. Not my thing. Maybe your thing, so you may like it more than me.

Also problematic, and I haven't encountered this in a Berry novel before -- extensive talking villain in the end, explaining everything, including the big surprise reveal (which BTW is telegraphed earlier). Berry is usually all about the McGuffin. In this case, the JFK story is an excellent McGuffin that dominates the middle act, as Luke and his pals uncover the mystery. Uncovering the mystery suffices to explain the mystery, so there's little need for more explanation by a talking villain. 

What's left in the end in this case is the villains' explanation of why they did what they did, and frankly, I didn't really care -- a one-line explanation would have been fine, and it didn't even have to make sense, insanity would have been sufficient motivation, and that's where it seems to start anyway, so why not end it there?

Nevertheless, for fans of Berry, there will be no disappointment -- this is what you expect from him, with an extra heaping helping of action, if that's your thing. For those interested in the JFK assassination and possible explanations, this is an excellent fictionalization of a credible real life theory of what might have happened (as opposed to a crackpot conspiracy theory). Either way, go for it -- good stuff!

Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for advance reading copy. Apologies for not getting the review in before publication -- sometimes life intervenes.
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The 9th Man by Steve Berry and Grant Blackwood is a Luke Daniels book. Luke is a member of the Magellan Billet. He is sort of an apprentice to Cotton Malone and his uncle was the ex-President of the United States. But Luke had made it on his own. It hadn’t been easy. This particular “caper” started of as a favor for a friend but quickly morphed into so much more. He got a text from Jillian Stein, a former colleague and one time almost girlfriend. She was frightened and she had started it all herself. She was in Belgium with her dying grandfather. When Luke got there she had run but her grandfather had a bullet through his head. Thus began several weeks of a chase more complex than many, and got them involved in one of the most talked about conspiracy theories of all time. It was an exciting ride. I like Luke almost as much was I like Cotton.

Luke is Cotton, but younger. He is clever, quick, very bright, and fearless. They are not even sure who they are chasing at the outset, but it seems to make sense so he keeps going in what seems to be an endless mission. Jillian was a good character, although not as fleshed out as Luke. He had once thought maybe she was “the one,” and had rushed to help her when she called. It was an exciting read, full of tech as well as old school research,  interesting characters, and thrilling conjecture. They two did a brilliant job of co-writing a book, which has got to be a nightmare. The plot was good, especially when they got to the conspiracy, which someone was trying to tamp down. Interestingly, not the government. Well plotted and well written, this will work for those of us waiting on Steve Berry for a new Cotton thriller. Very satisfying.

I was invited to read a free e-ARC of The 9th Man by Grand Central Publishing, through Netgalley. 
All thoughts and opinions are mine. #Netgalley #The9thMan #SteveBerry #GrantBlackwood #The9thMan
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