Member Reviews

Book Review – The Chaos Agent – Mark Greaney
Bestselling author Mark Greaney tells another captivating but fearful story in book 13 of the Gray Man series, “The Chaos Agent.” The book is about how high-tech artificial intelligence could possibly be the deadliest war ‘gamechanger’ since the creation of gunpowder. The story is exceptionally exciting, intellectually intriguing, and sensationally suspenseful. Someone is killing the world’s leading experts on artificial intelligence and the first nation to field advance artificial intelligence military capabilities could possibly end up ruling the battlefield in future military conflicts. Court Gentry and his girlfriend, Zoya Zakharova, another accomplished assassin, have assumed new identities and are keeping a low profile in Central America when an old acquaintance of Zoya’s offers them a job helping extract a Russian scientist who is on the kill list of the recent assassinations. They reject the offer but are soon on the run from someone trying to kill them as well. Subsequently, the two get involved and confront the situation head on and this is where the excitement begins! The Chaos Agent is a dark and thought-provoking look into artificial intelligence and how, if its advanced technological proceeds are utilized in the wrong way, then it could possibly do substantial harm to the entire world order. It reminds me of the Skynet scenario in one of the Terminator movies where the machines were taking over everything. This startling, but fascinating narrative serves as a warning that if AI developments go unchecked, then we – society as we know it now – could very well be in trouble. Thrilling, Chilling, and Alarming, The Chaos Agent is one of Greaney’s best pieces of work. He continues to lead the action thriller genre with relentless action, absorbing storytelling, and engaging characters. Although somewhat lengthy – 560 pages – the story is still very stimulating, exhilarating, and entertaining. This book confirms why Mark Greaney is one of my favorite authors.

Was this review helpful?

This is the most outrageous Gray Man novel I've read. Little would I have imagined when reading the first Gray Man years ago I'd be reading an entry with fighting robots and flying monsters.

Greaney does a great job getting the reader to the point of the mechanical stuff and that is the bulk that is worth reading. the ending machinery part gets silly. This is also where Greaney trips himself. The finality of the machines is exactly why such machinations in the robot world are unlikely to come to fruition. The efforts garner the same results. The litany of acronyms include, AGSI, LAW, SS, etc., adding to the silliness. I guess sci-fi fans may gobble all of this up.

It is a fun detour with strong characters, set aside the silly bad guy. The settings are well written. Especially where the ending battle occurs.

Bottom line: I recommend this book

Was this review helpful?

The Chaos Agent by Mark Greaney is a smart and engrossing read! Great plot and characterizations. Well worth the time.

Was this review helpful?

The Gray Man (Court Gentry) and his partner Anthem must face and outsmart AI powered drones and robots in this high stakes novel. With twists and turns too numerous to number the CIA and America comes head to head with a computer genius who sees computers ruling the world under his control. A well researched and well written book that takes you through the process of intelligence and technology development. It pits a retired Court Gentry against Anton Hinton the computer scientist who developed the program and robots involved, this futuristic story comes close to telling the future of computing and humanity. Kind of reminiscent of the Terminator movies a super computer tries to take over the computer world by writing its own program to enable it to defend itself.

This book/audiobook was exciting and interesting. I highly recommend the book/Audible to all action lovers. This lacks nothing when it comes to action. A fast paced novel which holds one’s interest, I gave this book a 4⭐️ rating and highly recommend it. I both read and listen to the story so I would recommend either version.

Was this review helpful?

After a good chunk of his life spent first in service to his country as a covert CIA asset, then as a freelance assassin when an internal enemy attempted to have him killed, all Court Gentry really wants to do is enjoy some peace and quiet, preferably with the woman he loves. However, Zoya Zakharova is not just any ordinary woman. A former SVR agent, she has her own baggage, with her former intelligence service out to capture or kill her. As the pair try to enjoy some relaxation in Central America, Zoya's former world intrudes, and plunges the pair in to a battle for the future.

AI experts have been dying off at a remarkable rate: car accidents, drownings, home invasions, and more. Which is what leads one of Zoya's former comrades to track her down and reach out, in the hope she, and by extension Court, can protect a Russian AI scientist. Before they can get to the latter, though, he and Zoya's contact are both killed, and they are now being hunted as well.

A hunt which includes AI-controlled killing machines no one thought existed.

This may be my favorite Gray Man novel since Backblast. It's great to see the deepening relationship of Court and Zoya, and how that plays through the decisions they make, especially when under the gun. The AI concepts depicted are at once awe-inspiring and scary as hell, and makes one wonder just what we don't know about beyond Boston Dynamics' videos they post on YouTube.

Once again, Mark has outdone himself. The plot starts in first gear, but rapidly goes from a paltry 20 mph to a hair-raising 100 as Court and Zoya find themselves not only battling for their lives, but the future of nations when it comes to AI-controlled warfare. Hands down another outstanding entry in the Gray Man series, and a must-read for thriller lovers everywhere.

Was this review helpful?

The Chaos Agent is the 13th book in Mark Greaney’s thrilling spy series The Gray Man. Even if you haven’t read the other 12 books, you can still enjoy this one. I haven’t read them all either but I never have a problem following along although I might not know a few characters that have been added along the way.

Courtland Gentry and Zoya Zakharova have been living off the grid for several months to avoid their respective governments. This is nothing new for Court since he has always been America’s stepson. One minute they want him dead, the next they need him to save the world. Nothing different this time around. Someone has been killing off the world’s most brilliant AI innovators and no one can figure out why. When Zoya’s Uncle inadvertently gets her and Court involved in the fight, everything escalates and the situation becomes something right out of a Terminator movie. There are powered drones, robot attack dogs, and a talking A.I. To top it all off, it’s hard to tell who or what is actually in control. Several of Court's former comrades show up to assist in this global fight and it’s definitely a worldwide rollercoaster. The Chaos Agent provides plenty of action, intrigue, and twists that will keep you on your toes til the very end.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Chaos Agent and its very real portrayal of what’s going on in our world today. The story really makes you think about how we are testing the boundaries of technology and humanity. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. It’s sure to be another riveting thriller.

Was this review helpful?

The Chaos Agent shows Mark Greaney juggling multiple roles -- thriller writer, mystery writer, novelist -- as he leave the reader clues about the identity of the "bad guys" involved in the central plot about an AI weapons system, but offers several red herrings to cause some much appreciated confusion. All before he delivers a knock-out punch. You will finish the book fully satisfied and prepared to camp out in front of the bookstore to get the next entry as soon as it is released..

Greaney is the true successor to Tom Clancy.

Was this review helpful?

A great addition to the series! I absolutely love these books and was so happy to get an arc. It was a wild ride, as always, filled with great tension, a great plot, and I really enjoyed it.

Was this review helpful?

📚 #BOOKREVIEW 📚
The Chaos Agent (Gray Man, Book 13) by Mark Greaney
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / Pages: 556 / Genre: Thriller

Court Gentry, AKA The Gray Man, is best known for being an ex-CIA spy and the world’s deadliest assassin. But that’s all in the past now. Court is out of the biz and on the run with his girlfriend and ex-Russian agent Zoya Zakharova. That is until they inadvertently get mixed up in the CIA’s big new problem—someone is targeting and murdering the top robotics and artificial experts in the world. From Osaka to Haifa to Boston and around the globe, one by one each expert is blown up, shot in the head, run over by a car, and so on. Everyone is quick to blame the Chinese, but it seems like something else is going on here. Desperate to disassociate themselves from this mess, Court and Zoya agree to work with some of the CIA agents they trust most to get to the bottom of this through whatever means necessary. And let’s just say, you don’t even want to know what the body count is by the end of this book.

This is the 13th book in this series and the first one I’ve read, but it wasn’t hard to get into this action-packed thriller. Seeing how so many past associates pop up, I’m sure it’s an even more captivating read for those who have been following the series. I really enjoyed this book and I will definitely dive into this series as soon as I have the chance.

Thank you, @NetGalley, @BerkleyPub, and @MarkGreaneyBooks for my gifted copy. I loved it!

Was this review helpful?

The Chaos Agent by Mark Greaney - #13 in the series has so much to offer. It seems everyone is writing an AI story but the Gray Man has a different take on it. The best thing is the lead in to the next story May just have me biting my nails in anticipation. Gobsmacked!

Was this review helpful?

Let me just start by saying this is the 13th book in the series in court is still on the run in and hiding but now he has company while he in Zoya his partner try to relax in Guatemala she gets a phone call that drags her in to a murder mystery and all the victims have a thing they’re all in tec and have something to do with AI. There’s a lot to this book it’s an international game of intrigue and murder and it took me forever to finish but I am glad I did I can honestly say I have never read a book from this series before but I do feel like going back and starting with book one. There is way too much for me to give a good summary of this book just know if you love as I said international intrigued a murder mystery spanning the globe and intelligent narrative then you would definitely love The Chaos Agent by Mark Greenie The 13th installment in The Gray Man series. It’s a long book but so worth reading once you start time really does fly by. I want to thank Berkeley publishing and Net Galley for my free Ark copy please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review.

Was this review helpful?

Agent of Chaos could be ripped from contemporary headlines as it explores the very real potential consequences of AI integrated into weapons technology. Due to my own philosophical assumptions, most of the concerns in our current moment over AGI/Skynet seem goofy and unrealistic to me, and so certain plot elements in this book didn’t connect with my own fears. On the other hand, the portrayal of autonomous fighting tech felt very realistic; this novel features one of my favorite action sequences. Court Gentry is at his best when he’s seemingly a fish in a barrel, with few resources but his infinitely creative mind.

This is the thirteenth Gray Man book, and Mark Greaney continues to deliver his signature elements: solid plotting and excellent action sequences. While not the best in the series, it certainly entertains. I’m actually more excited for the next installment, which he teed up with a cliffhanger. Definitely read this one, and get ready for the follow-up.

Was this review helpful?

Greaney has once again written another fantastic Gray Man novel. This is a twisty installment focusing on the very current topic of artificial intelligence. Loved it!

Was this review helpful?

Artificial Intelligence is the future and the first to perfect it will have a great advantage. Someone is systematically assassinating the world’s leading A.I. minds. China? Some asshole billionaire? Feathers are sufficiently ruffled around the world. Meanwhile, Court and Zoya are laying low in Central America minding their own business when an old associate of Zoya shows up asking for her help protecting a Russian A.I. genius. This meeting puts Court and Zoya in the crosshairs of and forces them into the hunt. Dodging robotic soldiers, armed drones and narcissistic billionaires are just the start in what could be the Gray Man’s most personal mission to date.

Mark Greaney continues to pen hit after after. A.I. is all the rage at the moment and is a main topic for fiction writers. Yet, Greaney is able to offer a fresh take on A.I. that is fairly bananas. Is it plausible? No clue. I’m skeptical but reserve the right to change my mind if the shit hits the fan in the future.

Court and Zoya’s relationship –maybe not necessarily their relationship but Court’s evolution – is what propels The Gray Man series forward. Without that emotional undercurrent and growth the series is just a dude running around blowing shit up.

The Chaos Agent is a timely, intelligent thriller and shows why Greaney is one of the best in the genre.

Muchas gracias to Berkley and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of The Chaos Agent!

Was this review helpful?

Mark Greaney (https://markgreaneybooks.com) is the author of more than 20 novels. The Chaos Agent was released just a few days ago and is the 13th novel in his Gray Man series. It is the 17th book I completed reading in 2024.

Due to scenes of violence and mature language, I categorize this novel as R.

A series of deaths, most clearly assassinations, roll across the world. The targets are all involved with the cutting edge of Artificial Intelligence (AI), or its military application. Zoya Zakharova and Courtland Gentry are in Central America, trying to hide in plain sight. Gentry is the ‘Gray Man’, one of the deadliest men on Earth. Zakharova is a former Russian agent and Gentry’s lover. Both are on the run for their lives.

A brief encounter with a former Russian intelligence agent suddenly puts Gentry and Zakharova in the crosshairs of those responsible for killing the AI experts. The two must use all of their skills to survive repeated attacks. Quickly becoming evident to them is that their adversary is using cutting-edge autonomous robots and drones.

An old acquaintance of Gentry, Scott Kincaid, is now a world-class assassin for hire. He goes under the code name Lancer and has been hired by a secret organization to carry out a series of hits. One of which is a failed attempt on Gentry and Zakharova. Tired of being on the run and playing defense, Gentry and Zakharova actively begin pursuing clues to the AI killings.

Anton Hinton is one of the few leading AI experts still alive, though he has survived one assassination attempt. Retired CIA field operative Jack Hightower is approached by an old associate, Gareth Wren. Wren works for Hinton and is looking for a new man to keep Hinton safe. Hightower takes the job. They fly to Cuba, where Hinton has a secure research lab and home.

Jim Pace works for the CIA and heads a task force looking into weapons proliferation. He is assigned the additional task of discovering who is behind the hits on AI experts and why they are being killed. As he gathers information, his investigation takes him to Cuba and eventually meets with Hightower, Gentry, and Zakharova.

While the story involves many characters, the primary characters of Gentry, Zakharova, Kincaid, Hightower, Hinton, and Pace find themselves in the area around Havana, Cuba. The adversary is known to be using cutting-edge robots and drones. The fear is that they are dealing with an emerging Artificial general superintelligence.

Can Gentry and Zakharova survive long enough to find the location of the AI system and stop it before it is too late?

I enjoyed the 14.5 hours I spent reading this 556-page thriller. I like a good thriller and this one in particular. It features AI and autonomous robots integral to the plot. While I am far from an expert in the field, I keep up with the general advancements. The state-of-the-art in AI and autonomous robotics falls short of what is depicted in the novel. The threat is that one day, technology will catch up with fiction. I have had the opportunity to read three other novels by Greaney, which have all been excellent. Those others are Back Blast, Gunmetal Gray, and Red Metal. The cover art chosen is eye-catching, but I do not see a close relationship to the story. I give this novel a rating of 5 out of 5

You can access more of my book reviews on my Blog ( https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/).

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Was this review helpful?

Mark Greaney brings together a contemporary topic, diverse characters, multiple settings, and plenty of action in the thirteenth novel in the Gray Man series. In this latest book artificial intelligence leads to a shocking and alarming scenario. Someone is killing the world’s leading experts on artificial intelligence and robotics. Is it a tech company eliminating the competition, a country intent on military superiority, or something even more ominous?

The Gray Man - Court Gentry and Zoya Zakharova have assumed new identities and are living together in Guatemala. Both have governments and individuals as their enemies and are trying to keep a low profile. Unfortunately, that is about to change. They’re tracked down and offered a job by an acquaintance of Zoya’s. Despite rejecting the offer, being seen with him is enough to have assassins pursue them. On the run they realize that whoever wants them dead seems to be one step ahead of them. It’s time to fight back.

Court, a former CIA operative, is drawn to danger, misses making an impact, and suffers from insomnia. Zoya is motivated by causes and mainly wants to survive. There are a host of additional characters, but it was easy to keep track of them. Readers get various points of view throughout the novel with the initial chapters introducing many of them and their situations.

Greaney is an excellent storyteller who kept me on the edge of my seat with gripping scenes, action, a superb plot, and fantastic writing. In preparation for this series, he not only traveled to multiple countries but trained extensively in the use of firearms, battlefield medicine, and close-range combative tactics. The dynamic plot came alive and felt all too possible with real-world issues around artificial intelligence incorporated into the story highlighting the societal and political differences.

A constant sense of urgency, a state of uneasiness, and lots of action combined with great characters and a well-written plot make this suspenseful novel a must read. My only quibble was one aspect of the ending. However, this undoubtedly sets the stage for the next book in the series. Themes include artificial intelligence, deception, trust, industrial espionage, violence, differing political and social ideologies, murder, and much more.

Overall, this is a gripping, gritty, and chilling story with complex characters. It’s intense and dramatic and kept this reader turning the pages. I recommend this series to those who like political, action, and military thrillers. While this series is best read in order to fully understand the backstories of the main characters, this one worked as a standalone novel for me.

Berkley Publishing Group and Mark Greaney provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. Publication date is currently set for February 20, 2023. This review was originally posted at Mystery and Suspense Magazine.

Was this review helpful?

Published by Berkley on February 20, 2024

While Gray Man novels are about action, not deep thought, The Chaos Agent might be seen as a cautionary tale about the consequences of misusing Artificial Intelligence — specifically, by creating autonomous weapons that are guided by an AI. The concept of autonomous AI weaponry has been familiar to fans of science fiction novels and Terminator movies for decades, but The Chaos Agent offers a credible and timely look at how AI killing machines might threaten the world at a time when political leaders are asking whether it would be wise to regulate AI technology.

Granted, most of the concern about AI has involved pranksters creating deepfake videos and students using ChatGPT to write term papers. Autonomous weapons — machines that make their own decisions about when and how to engage in battles — could pose a greater existential threat than most other unfortunate uses of AI.

Court Gentry, aka Violator, aka the Gray Man, is traveling in South America with his dangerous lover Zoya Zakharova. They’re trying to stay under the radar of the many people who want to kill them. That plan is thwarted by a drone that happens to be watching a Russian who is watching Zoya. The Russian wants Zoya’s help to exfiltrate an agent in Mexico who has information about autonomous weapons. Zoya would like to help but Court wants none of it. He is nevertheless sucked into danger when the drone sends his picture to a bad guy who identifies him as a target.

More immediate targets are scientists and engineers who are being killed in countries around the world. Different intelligence agencies have different theories about how they are connected. Their connection to weaponized AI will be apparent to the reader, but why they need to be assassinated is less obvious.

One threat leads to another as Gentry is targeted by a former CIA assassin. After a series of action scenes, Gentry agrees to help the CIA get to the bottom of the murders and to thwart the risk of giving a tactical advantage to whichever nation is the first to develop autonomous weaponry. Machines that fight on their own initiative are faster and deadlier than humans operating weapons. As science fiction and thriller fans know, an AI that can train itself to adapt to changing battlefield conditions will eventually decide that the best tactic to assure its own survival is the eradication of all humanity. Gentry decides it might be wise to prevent that from happening.

One of the scientists who has been targeted is Anton Hinton. He has a lab in Cuba and a strong security team, but he strengthens the team by hiring Zack Hightower. Series fans will recognize Hightower as a former CIA paramilitary guy who once worked with, and later worked against, Gentry. Hightower and Gentry are fated to reunite in Cuba.

The plot is intelligent, although it is largely an excuse for action scenes. That isn’t a complaint. Shootouts, explosions, chases, crashing trucks through fences, all the good stuff that looks cool in movies is just as fun on paper, given Mark Greaney’s cinematic writing style. Greaney is one of the best action writers in the business.

Gray Man novels are a cut above most tough guy action novels because the plots are tight, intelligent, and surprisingly credible. And if a plot element might not be credible, Greaney makes the storyline seem plausible in the moment, even when Gentry is shooting at four-legged war machines that would be at home in a Star Wars movie. The Chaos Agent is an entertaining action story, but if it makes people think about the risks of using AI as a weapon, the novel will have served a higher purpose.

RECOMMENDED

Was this review helpful?

“Hasta La Vista, Baby”
T800, Terminator 2: Judgment Day


Court Gentry or The Gray Man is one of my favorite heroes. Court is an assassin with a conscience and once a deadly operator for the CIA. He's been on the run for some time after being framed. He now has a companion, Zoya Zakharova, a former SVR hiding from the country she served.

While Court and Zoya are staying in the beautiful but stormy Panajachel, Guatemala under new identities, Zoya's "uncle" tracks her down and pleads for her help with extracting a scientist in Mexico who's on a kill list. World-renowned robotics and AI experts are killed off one by one, professionally orchestrated by an unknown authority.

Zoya gets involved and so Court gets involved.

The Chaos Agent hooked me right from the start. I love the beginning of it and not knowing the direction of the story kept me invested. The action started quite early too so it was an adrenaline rush from early on. Although it was action-packed, the middle part gave me so much trouble keeping interest. There are MANY characters and they ended up in Cuba. Somehow the story wasn't moving forward much, it felt long. Wait, it is long ~ 560 pages. The reveal was unexpected but I should've seen it coming. I love that feeling and want to kick myself for missing it. The ending was good and hints at where the Gray Man will be in the next one. 🫨

Thank you Berkley Publishing Group and Netgalley for the DRC.

Was this review helpful?

Whoever controls the use of artificial intelligence for weapons will control the world. That simple premise is all you really need to know when you pick up Mark Greaney’s The Chaos Agent. The 13th entry in Greaney’s high-voltage, ripped-from-the-headlines action/espionage series poses the very real question of how AI will influence future wars and the global balance of power.

Artificial intelligence has exploded into the zeitgeist over the last year, a looming factor in everything from computer search engines to writing and drawing programs. So it makes sense that the threat of an AI-enhanced weapons system — “machines that think like humans, albeit better, faster, and utterly without remorse” — would be a natural lure for Greaney, who has a tendency to weave current events into his novels. The scary threat of The Terminator’s rogue Skynet AI system suddenly seems hauntingly real.

Not that Greaney’s ex-CIA operative/man on the run Court Gentry, better known as the Gray Man, is looking for trouble in his latest outing. Gentry wants no part of the mission, but when a hitman – aka Lancer, “one of the most infamous killers for hire on the planet” and second only to the Gray Man in his skills — puts him on a kill list of high-profile scientists and engineers around the world, there's no turning back.

The story culminates in an all-out battle royal that will keep readers turning pages long into the night and leave them thirsting for the next installment in the Gray Man series.

Following on the success of last year’s Netflix original movie starring Ryan Gosling, the novel is sure to attract longtime fans and newbies alike. And while The Chaos Agent includes a number of characters from Greaney’s past novels, the book is completely accessible to new readers.

As usual, Greaney — who cut his teeth writing novels in Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan universe — also packs the novel with meticulous detail and attention to locales (many of which he has visited firsthand), weapons, and high-octane fight scenes without losing sight of his characters’ personalities and the emotional weight heaped on them.

Was this review helpful?

While former intelligence officers Court Gentry and Zoya Feodorovna Zakharova are lying low in a highland Guatemalan village and assessing their options, the world's top experts in robotics and AI are rapidly being assassinated. Is a corporate entity trying to eliminate its competition, or is a government attempting to be the only one with a game-changing weapons system powered by AI?

This is a pulse-pounding, action-packed thriller with a terrifying vision of the capabilities of technology. I was grateful for a character guide that introduced the book; it was a little challenging to keep track of who each one was and what entity they were aligned with. While the book was a bit outside my normal genres, it definitely held my interest and sent me down a fascinating research rabbit hole. Lots of violence and a doozy of a cliff-hanger, but a thought-provoking page-turner.

Thank you so much to Berkley and Netgalley for this ARC to review!

Was this review helpful?