The Gatekeeper

A Thriller

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Pub Date 07 Jun 2022 | Archive Date 21 Jun 2022
St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books


James Byrne's The Gatekeeper introduces Dez Limerick in the most anticipated new thriller in years.

A highly trained team of mercenaries launches a well-planned, coordinated attack on a well-guarded military contractor - but they didn't count on one thing, the right man being in the wrong place at the right time.

Desmond Aloysius Limerick (“Dez” to all) is a retired mercenary, and enthusiastic amateur musician, currently in Southern California, enjoying the sun and sitting in on the occasional gig, when the hotel he's at falls under attack. A skilled team attempts to kidnap the Chief legal counsel of Triton Expeditors, a major military contractor – in fact, Petra Alexandris is the daughter of the CEO – but their meticulously-planned, seamlessly executed scheme runs into the figurative 'spanner-in-the-works,' Dez himself.

After foiling the attack, and with nothing better to do, Dez agrees to help Alexandris with another problem she’s having – someone has embezzled more than a billion dollars from her company and left very few tracks behind. But Dez is a gatekeeper – one who opens doors and keeps them open – and this is just a door of another kind. And the door he opens leads to a dangerous conspiracy involving media manipulation, militias, an armed coup, and an attempt to fracture the United States themselves. There’s only one obstacle between the conspirators and success – and that is Dez, The Gatekeeper.

James Byrne's The Gatekeeper introduces Dez Limerick in the most anticipated new thriller in years.

A highly trained team of mercenaries launches a well-planned, coordinated attack on a well-guarded...

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ISBN 9781250805768
PRICE $27.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 77 members

Featured Reviews

THE GATEKEEPER presents a new protagonist, Dez Limerick, of unclear background and past, but undisputed talents when villains appear suddenly. Perhaps the best part about his murky past is that there are really no limits to his skill sets. Author James Byrne has cleverly created an opening for a character with enormous possibilities and a great sense of humor. This first book introduces Dez well and suggests he will travel as needed to satisfy his rescue fantasies. I enjoyed every minute of the book and look forward to reading the next. I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

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Dez Is A Man Of Many Talents

He is fearless, funny, bold, brave, incorrigible, and incongruous. He comes from everywhere in general and nowhere in particular. He has an accent that is unplaceable and a manner that is irresistible. When he is caught in a situation that demands action, he gets involved and saves a woman from being kidnapped. Little did he realize he had just entered a complicated and well-organized plot to dismantle the United States.

I loved everything about this story, the characters, the plot, the witty way Dez handles the situation at hand and his devious plans to find a solutions for every situation. James Byrne has created an endearing character in Desmond Aloysius Limerick , I’ll be first in line for the sequel.

I received an advance copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley.

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The Gatekeeper is a debut book which I thoroughly enjoyed. Desmond ‘Dez’ Aloysius Limerick is a gatekeeper in a former life. He was retired and hanging out playing with a band in California. He is at the right place at the wrong time to save Petra – the CEO of Triton.
The plot again Petra is just the beginning and Dez uses his skills and wits to save the day. He has so much experience in all this the bad guys have no chance. Loved the writing, loved the story. Really looking forward to the next one. This is so worth a read. Thanks Net Galley for an advanced copy for an honest review.

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The GateKeeper is an exciting, fast paced novel featuring a new character with enormous potential for an ongoing series. Dez Limerick is a wise cracking, low key man with a wealth of hacking, fighting and weapon skills of unknown origin. He is the right person in the wrong place (for the villains) rescuing and then assisting the daughter and lawyer for a financial and weapon conglomerate in digging into the ever expanding intrigue behind a mysterious theft of billions of dollars. The plot is fast paced, the writing tight and the character development excellent. I found this to be an excellent read and look forward to more from James Byrne about this character.

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First, I’d like to say thank you for the opportunity to read the book.
And I can’t wait for the second(hoping there is one :)
I’m a sucker for witty, fun, sarcastic bad ass characters.
Once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down. Read till my eyes blurred. Thinking this is just silly it will still be here tomorrow.
The lady was no slouch herself.
Wonderfully well rounded in my opinion had a little bit of everything.
Now, I have one more to add to my favorite look out list
The book was wonderful You are a wonderful writer
And I thank you forever. Cause without words to read What would I do..

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Review of Uncorrected Digital Galley

Retired mercenary Desmond Aloysius Limerick is sitting in on a gig at the Southern California hotel where he is staying. When the hotel comes under attack, Dez steps in, thwarts the very professional kidnapping team, and keeps Petra Alexandris safe. He then agrees to assist Petra, the daughter of the head of Triton Expeditors and Triton’s chief legal counsel, with an embezzling issue she is having at Triton.

With more than a billion dollars missing from the military contractor’s account, Petra is anxious to learn how the thief accomplished it. With few people having the necessary access, Petra wonders just who is responsible for the theft.

Dez’s investigation reveals a conspiracy that threatens to divide the nation itself.

And the Gatekeeper is the only obstacle standing in the way of the conspirators’ success.


This exciting narrative, filled with Interesting characters and a bit of humor, offers readers an intriguing plot and takes them on a fast-paced adventure. Readers are sure to find themselves rooting for Dez as he gets into a variety of predicaments while investigating for Petra.

There are some surprising twists in the unfolding narrative and the action-packed thriller doesn’t disappoint. A strong sense of place, nuanced characters, and a terrifyingly-real plot combine to pull readers into the telling of the tale from the outset.

The undercurrent of tension gives the narrative an unsettling tone that is perfect for the story being told; readers are sure to find it difficult to set this one aside before turning the final page.

Highly recommended.

I received a free copy of this eBook from SOURCEBOOKS Landmark and NetGalley
#TheGatekeeper #NetGalley

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Thank you to NetGalley for the eARC. This is not a paid review..
This book was awesome! A great new series to look forward to! Dez Limerick is the man!

Dez is a Gatekeeper.. which as he explains means he opens doors.. all kinds of doors, very covert doors at times. He also has skills that raise him a bit above those around him.

While taking a break from gatekeeping, he goes to California to play bass in a band for a bit.
But being a gatekeeper he notices things. Like all the makings of a kidnap attempt to a very high profile woman in his hotel. Being a gentleman, he has to help.

Asked by the woman, Petra Alexandris, chief legal counsel to Triton Industries as well as the owners daughter to find out what is going on, Dez uncovers a diabolical plot that will not only affect her company but the USA as we know it.

Great characters, fantastic language and the engaging Dez make this a must read for any thriller fan.

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The Gatekeeper is a nonstop action thriller with an outstanding leading character. Desmond Aloysius Limerick Is a former mercenary, an okay musician, and a man who can open any door physical or digital. When ahe recognizes a professional team of mercenaries in his hotel, chivalry kicks in and Dez saves the pretty girl from a kidnapping. Not just a pretty face, Petra Alexandris is the daughter of the CEO of Triton Expeditors and the chief legal council. Someone is using Triton money to stage an insurrection against the fine old United States. With nothing better to do, Dez agrees to work with Petra to foil whatever is going. Knee deep in trouble seems to be Dez’s favorite place as he takes on racists, soldiers, and the men behind the scenes in an action packed page turner fit for the silver screen. Dez has great potential to be an all time reader favorite. My voluntary, unbiased review is based upon a review copy from NetGalley.

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This is a fantastic book! I received a printed copy of this book and thought I'd check out a couple pages since I'd never heard of the author and then I gobbled it up in one day without really meaning to. While it took a little while to get used to Dez's cadence, he is a great character - little smart-ass wrapped around a lot of bad-ass - and I loved every minute of this adventure. The mystery was definitely timely, the action was good, and I outright laughed a couple times at things that Dez said. I highly recommend this book and can't wait for the next Desmond Aloysius Limerick book! Thank you, Minotaur and NetGalley for the opportunity to meet Dez early.

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Thank you to the publisher for an e-ARC of this title.

An introduction to Desmond Aloysius Limerick, otherwise known as Dez, this book does a great job laying the foundation for a new series that will hold its own alongside the likes of the Jack Reacher, Scott Harvath, James Reece, and Orphan X books. I though this was a great addition to the genre, and will be looking for others in this series to come.

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The Gatekeeper is a fast moving, never stopping romp through an insurrection plot that kept me turning the pages til I was done! Dez Limerick starts is week by saving Petra, the daughter of a military contractor tycoon, and that's before breakfast. Before he knows it he's up to his eyeballs in a plan to create a breakaway state; said plan includes rogue elements of the military, white supremacists, and all kinds of other shady characters. One surprise after another is thrown at us while Petra and Dez work to save the world (ok, maybe just the state) as we know it.

Dez is an engaging, surprising, super fun character. It's unclear just where he's from, which is part of the fun, as is the way he speaks. I wanted to meet him, but oh yes, he's not real.

This book is a great read for anyone, but especially those who are fans of Gregg Hurwitz's Nowhere Man. What a great book! It's a fast, fun, easy, engaging, surprising read.

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Having never read this author before I was impressed with the way he keeps you on your toes and trying to figure what's coming next. There's plenty of suspense and drams along the way.

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John Byrne

Desmond Aloysius Limerick is an unwieldy, ill-fitting name for anyone, but for a retired mercenary who has just completed a particularly successful (albeit bloody) assignment in the Middle East it borders on ludicrous, hence the more-appropriate nickname Dez. Not only does it work for both his careers (music and killing, along with the ability to open any lock, anywhere), “Dez” almost perfectly describes its owner, who is, at 5’8,” short. Of course, anyone distracted by his stature (or his disarming smile), might overlook the fact that he is also built like a large, heavily-muscled, lightning-fast cinder block with a wide-ranging set of deadly skills. Now in California, Dez isn’t expecting to need those skills since he’s discovered that he is in the ideal place to indulge his passion for music: he’s spending his evenings playing in various groups in need of a very good bass guitarist. Dez has just finished tonight’s gig and is planning on sleeping soundly in his comped room after unwinding with a beer, a snack, and a few minutes of watching the lights of Los Angeles from his window, plans that quickly unravel when he spots the sniper on the roof across the street, sights set on the entrance to the hotel where four men dressed for what Dez knows instinctively is a mission are entering. Discovering that the phone lines are dead, Dez thinks of the tall woman with bodyguards he had seen earlier in the lobby and realizes that of all the guests in the hotel she is the most likely target.

What a fantastic, riveting, entertaining book! This may be Byrne’s first novel, but I’m hoping it’s only the beginning of what will be many more. This is my top choice for anyone looking for an unputdownable read!

My heartfelt thanks to NetGalley and Minotaur Books for the chance to read a pre-publication copy of Gatekeeper.

Find more of my reviews on Facebook at NancysBookNook.

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James Byrne in this novel titled “The Gatekeeper” has created both a persona as well as a role that plays well in today’s world. The persona is Desmond Aloysious Limerick better known in the story as Dez. The role of a gatekeeper is a bit harder to define but basically it is someone who both opens and closes passageways.

In Dez’s case, this job is first outlined in the Prologue where he is the controller for a snatch-and-grap operation in Algeria. He is very good at what he does. Short of stature but powerful in body, he has the physical attributes to stand strong against anyone. Add his intellectual acumen and you have one tough character.

In some ways, Dez reminds the reader of Spencer in Robert Parker’s books but in other ways he is definitely one of a kind. This particular storyline involves a beautiful woman, a powerful multinational corporation, white suprematists, and governmental corruption not to mention Russian involvement! To find out how all these disparate characters and plot lines fit together, you’ll have to read the book.

I can assure the reader that the time to read will not be wasted as there is something happening on every page. It was hard to put it down as I wanted to know what was next.

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Nonstop action and intrigue. Dez and Petra are a formidable pair as they try to figure out who attempted to adduct Petra and why. The why leads them to a conspiracy involving her company that could impact not only the U.S. but also the world.

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My new favorite author and series! More sharp humor and character development than anything I have read recently. I will buy anything I can find by James Byrne.

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I loved this book. Anyone who likes action, conspiracy theories would love this book because there was lots of action and it was very creative. Dez, the hero, was unlike heroes often found in action books--he apologizes when he swears. I was not sure I was going to like his character when I was first introduced, but the more I read, the better I liked him. There are good guys, and bad guys, and it is not until the end that all of the pieces come together. And there is also a beautiful woman. I hope there is another book about Dez. And if has not already been optioned or a movie, someone has missed an opportunity. I received an arc, and was under no pressure for a positive review.

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Entertaining Protagonist And Great Action
The Gatekeeper

Dez Limerick is as laconic as Jack Reacher, as capable as Peter Ash, and as tech-savvy as Mitch Rapp. California doesn’t live up to his expectations, Americans think he has a funny name, and he feels that classic beauty should be appreciated, whether in automobiles or in women. He has a mysterious past, a particular set of skills, a low tolerance for BS, a twinkle in his eye, and an innate need to set things right.

The plot, while crazy, no longer seems quite so far-fetched in the current climate. (Anybody who does not believe there are far-right separatists among us has not been paying attention to US politics for at least the last 5 to 10 years.) That being said, some of the details do strain credulity just a bit.

The Gatekeeper has a great protagonist, along with fast-moving and propulsive action that any thriller fan will enjoy. And little suspension of disbelief kinda comes with the territory. Any fan of David Baldacci, especially the Amos Decker, Will. Robie, and John Puller novels, will enjoy this book. Same for fans of Lee Child’s Reacher, Brian Haig’s Sean Drummond, Nick Petrie’s Peter Ash, Joseph Finder’s Nick Heller, Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp, and Steve Hamilton’s Nick Mason, to name but a few. I know I certainly did.

I received a galley of this novel in exchange for a review containing honest opinions.

Review Contains Spoilers: No
# Tags: Action Packed, Quick Read, Couldn't Put It Down

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Move over, Jack Reacher! A one man wrecking crew and a mercenary with no past, Dez is in the right place at the right place for a potential kidnap victim. Dez considers himself a gatekeeper, one who opens doors others cannot and keeps them open. This time the door leads to a high-level embezzlement and a government conspiracy at a major military contractor. Only Dez has the ability to stop the conspiracy before it becomes a world altering disaster.

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I found this novel completely by chance and the premise was different enough to peak my interest, I'm so grateful that I did. Dez is not your usual spec op soldier, we actually don't get much background at all from the bowlegged operator, and it makes such an amazing difference from the books I usually read. We don't hear about the years of experience and training that Dez obviously has, all we get is a brief look into the last mission he was a part of and we find he is so well qualified and able that he doesn't feel the need to brag. Dez Limerick is what's known as a gatekeeper, he opens doors and keeps them open, or closed, depending on the mission. He's exceptional at this job but he is ready to retire and spend his time traveling and playing guitar. He happens into a kidnapping of a young woman at his hotel and thwarts it rather easily, they weren't expecting anyone with his skill set, which leads him into looking into the theft of over a billion dollars. Dez sets out to uncover who is behind the theft which soon becomes a battle against right wing soldiers and a group of racists who are threatening the meltdown of a nuclear reactor. What I appreciate most is that Dez isn't the superhuman soldier that is in most thriller novels these days, hell, he isn't even the best fighter as he runs into a Green Beret captain who's combat skills are better by far. Dez is a breath of fresh air, he reminds me of Robert B Parker's Spenser, in that he wades into a mess and uses his fighting skills among other talents to get to the heart of the matter and figure out who the bad guys are and how to stop them. The parallels between the two made this an enjoyable read and I'm looking forward to reading more adventures with Dez, and hopefully learning more about his mysterious past. But even if we learn nothing more about him, his exploits are enough to keep me happy for many years to come. I will be looking forward to seeing each new book of this (fingers crossed) series.

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His name is Desmond Aloysius Limerick. “It’s a perfectly fine name,” he claims when someone hears it for the first time and raises an eyebrow. His friends call him “Dez.” His brothers-in-arms call him “Chief.” And his past is complete mystery. Author James Byrne introduces us to one of the most compelling and endearing protagonists since Lee Child’s “Reacher” or Gregg Hurwitz’s “Orphan X” with his debut thriller, “The Gatekeeper.”

Newly retired from his mysterious pseudo-military, possibly mercenary, certainly black-ops past, Dez has decided to try California on for size. Dez is a skilled guitarist, having learned to play to improve his manual dexterity for effectively disarming bombs, and has landed a gig as a backup guitarist for a Los Angeles bar band. Just as he’s preparing to conclude his time in the City of Angels and move on, the hotel he’d been calling home becomes the scene of a meticulously planned and tactically executed kidnapping. Unfortunately for the kidnappers, Dez is no stranger to violence and easily foils the kidnapping and rescues the target. Impressed with his grace under fire, the intended victim, a billionaire heiress to an industrial empire, hired Dez to uncover the motivations for the kidnapping and the mastermind behind the plot. Dez employs his unique blend of vigilante justice to wage a one-man war on corporate saboteurs, treasonous soldiers, and neo-Nazis in the non-stop thrill ride “The Gatekeeper.”

As a freshman effort, Author James Byrne has delivered everything that makes a terrific and memorable thriller. Smooth flowing and engaging prose, evocative descriptions, compelling characters, and a heart-pounding plot result in a narrative that is more than the sum of its parts. All I can say is Bravo and I can’t wait for the follow-up.

The lynchpin of any terrific thriller is an engaging and dynamic protagonist. To say Dez is a successfully multi-dimensional character is tremendously underselling how well this character comes across on the page. Dez is a puzzle box of complementing yet incongruous personality traits. As funny and engaging as he is brutal and deadly, Dez is a character unlike anything we’ve seen in recent years. He’s not a 6’4” muscle-bound hulk of a man, nor is he a lithe super soldier, but rather he’s a squat, bow-legged brute, “as wide as he is tall… with fists like toasters.” His self-deprecating sense of humor, his unfailingly friendly demeanor, and his merciless brutality blend into such a unique protagonist and action hero that by the second chapter the reader is prepared to willingly follow him wherever he may lead. Narrating from the 3rd person POV from his perspective leaves a vail of suspicion between Dez and the reader and allows for the perfect use of suspense, tension, and questionable motivations.

Dez hails from the United Kingdom, but whether that means England, Ireland, or Scotland is never specified and remains yet another shrouded mystery from his past. That being the case, his character’s dialog with protagonists and antagonists alike reveals speech patterns and colloquialisms that add amazing texture to his characterization. Dialog is distinct and crisp and perfectly compliments the character building for lead characters and supporting cast alike.

The narrative unfolds at a brisk and exciting pace and the novel is a very quick read. An action-packed prologue provides a mysterious glimpse into Dez’s past and sets the pace and tone for the entire novel. The tone is especially distinct and unique considering the subgenre of action thrillers. While the pseudo-military plot elements result in a grisly tone filled with action and violence, Dez’s personality and his lighthearted interpretation of the brutality and violence flips the tonal expectations and adds humorous undertones to an otherwise extremely serious and danger-wrought narrative. The juxtaposition of violence and humor creates a unique and refreshing reading experience.

I enthusiastically recommend “The Gatekeeper” as an amazing debut novel featuring an unforgettable character. I will eagerly await James Byrne’s follow-up novel and look forward to more adventures involving and unwrapping the mysteries surrounding Desmond Aloysius Limerick. Thriller lovers should certainly check out “The Gatekeeper,” you won’t be disappointed.

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