The Black Art of Killing

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Member Reviews

would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for letting me read this book

a honeytrap
kidnapped scientists
security men killed

a jack reacher/seals  style book that holds you gripped till the end...quite a bit of detail some over my head but on the whole there was enough to keep me interested right to the end

a bit graphic and gruesome but kept within the storyline how to rescue some missing scientists that was miles in a jungle...
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This was a very exciting fast paced thriller. I enjoyed it and  look forward to further outings for Leo Black.
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Extremely violent tale of an academic/soldier called back from studies to investigate and avenge the killing of a previous brother in arms. The action races along from Paris to London to Venezuela all with the hint of deceit lurking in the background with the mission being to discover the fate of several scientists kidnapped by a shady organisation. It all builds to an explosive climax and a satisfying denouement. It remains to be seen whether there will be more from this interesting character but one would hope so!
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This book went from strength to strength and I loved every moment. From the duality of human nature to the grizzly details of torture and brutality. A great protagonist and plot all leading up to a crescendo of mayhem. Any fans of novels based on the Special Forces will enjoy every page.
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Very much a case of “your past catches up with you” for Dr Leo Black who, in a nut shell is whisked from the Groves of Academe to the jungles of South America. Driven by both both revenge and a sense of national duty, his deep rooted ability to dispatch any perceived obstacle or threat reinforced by being an outstanding ex SAS Major makes him an ideal candidate to lead a rescue attempt for missing scientists along with the demolition of a rogue scientific facility.  It also makes him an unwary target for those he used to trust. The character grows more as you get into the book. Enjoyed it. My thanks to Penguin/Michael Joseph and NetGalley.
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Admittedly this is my favourite genre but it's far more than a former Special Forces tough guy does good.
The novel, whilst a thrilling, edge of the seat ride is also a story of friendship, betrayal, trust and there's even a touch of romance in there.
Loved it.
Never before have I rooted for a hero so much as I did for Leo Black. 
It is very intelligently written and obviously well researched with some passages that I found myself reading out loud to my husband. A sure sign of an entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable novel.
I gather this is the first in a series and I've already added Mr Hall to my list of those to look out for.
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I enjoyed reading this book and recommend giving the author a try.  The book is full of intense action and the main character is a not just your typical action man, he is a deep thinker and expresses complex thoughts in an interesting way.  The way he interacts within his two worlds and the conflict it causes him is very well described by the author.  I particularly enjoyed the way the story was brought to a conclusion.  Well worth the read.
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The Black Art of Killing, a gripping thriller that I found hard to put down. Major Leo Black, a mixture of Endeavour Morse, Nick Stone and Jack Reacher but with a ruthless streak that sees him slotting two fellow soldiers in cold blood. I am still grappling with the thought processes of Colonel Freddy Towers and why he pursued a reluctant Leo Black to find Dr Sarah Bellam when his paymaster didn’t want her found and initially wasn’t too fussed about Leo Black either.

There are a few technical niggles which spoiled it for me. Twelve volts won’t be felt by the average person, so is not a shocking voltage. 2,000mA of current through the macaque, so precise, would had to have come from a constant current source as the process of administering a shock from a high voltage source would have caused an ever increasing current as the fur, skin and flesh carbonised. The use of white noise to deliver the nano-particle payload is highly suspect as the sound waves would not easily penetrate the human body. Experiments have been conducted using beamed radio frequency energy in a battlefield scenario to a similar aim.

Other than that, a really great thriller.
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Matthew Hall is the writer of one of my favourite series, the Coroner Jenny Cooper series, but this, his latest thriller is rather a different kettle of fish. It's a thriller featuring ex-SAS Major Leo Black, who made a life changing decision to move into academia late in life, now at the age of 50 as Dr Leo Black, he is at Worcester College, Oxford University lecturing to packed audiences of highly engaged students. However, Leo has no publications or research papers behind him, and he doesn't fit into the academic circles who scarcely view him as one of them. His new career is under threat, and he is hoping a paper he is planning to present in the US will secure him tenure and guarantee his academic future. In the SAS, his closest friend on many dangerous military operations was Sergeant Ryan Finn, although the two had not connected since Leo's abrupt and surprising departure.

Finn's wife, Kathleen, gets in touch with Leo when her husband is killed in Paris acting as bodyguard to a promising Oxford scientist, Dr Sarah Bellman, who is abducted from a hotel. He agrees to go to Paris to identify his body, weighed down with guilt at not keeping up his friendship with Finn. He wants revenge and justice for his friend, returning to Oxford after an incident in Paris. His old commanding officer, Colonel Freddie Towers, re-enters his life, informing him Bellman is one of a number of cutting edge scientists that have been taken for what appears to be nefarious corporate purposes. He wants Leo to find out what happened to Finn, Leo is reluctant, but it soon becomes clear he has no choice as his reputation is being publicly trashed and with it will go all his aspirations to establish his new career. As Leo settles all too easily into his former military person, he finds himself thrilled to once again be leading a dangerous, almost impossible mission he is unlikely to survive in South America.

Hall has Leo personify and present many of the dilemmas and problems of Western military interventions in volatile hotspots such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan, and why they are almost invariably doomed to failure. This is a exciting, brutal, violent, tense and suspenseful thriller that is compulsive reading and easily garnered my attention. However, whilst I definitely enjoyed reading this, I personally have a stronger preference for his Coroner Jenny Cooper series. Fans of action thrillers with a strong military thread will likely enjoy this and appreciate the talents and gifts of the central protagonist, Leo Black. I should warn readers there is unethical animal experimentation and abuse in the book. Many thanks to Penguin Michael Joseph for an ARC.
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It has been awhile since I have read a military special ops story and I really enjoyed this one. The main character comes alive and you can feel his pain. The story is full of non stop action, intelligent decisions from some and dilemmas which could face us all. Great read!
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I should say that I have only just realised that Matthew Hall is the author if the long-running "Coroner" series which I have enjoyed immensely. "The Black Art of Killing" is therefore  something of a change in style. Very well researched and some interesting comment on warfare and the the military in general. Leo Black is an intriguing hero - flawed and thoughtful but underneath the would-be academic persona he is still a soldier.

For me the story was gripping and thought-provoking until the final 3rd of the book when it turned into a pretty standard "action" type of story where our hero faces impossible situations and odds.

Enjoyable for the most part and I am grateful to NetGalley and  the publishers for providing me with an ARC.
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Unfortunately, I couldn't get into this one. Many thanks for allowing me to try it. No review will be posted online.
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#TheBlackArtOfKilling #NetGalley 
I couldn't put it down.
Dr Leo Black is one of Oxford University's rising stars. His lectures play to a packed audience of adoring students.  When Leo's former Commanding Officer reveals that Paris represented far more than just a single, isolated tragedy, Leo reluctantly agrees to help, whatever the cost to his new life. 
The author has done a deep research of his genre to write such a great book. I finished it in four hours. Narration of the story is perfect and characters are mind blowing. 
Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin UK Michael Joseph for giving me an advanced copy of this book.
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