Agent in Place by Mark Greaney

agent in place

Official Thrillerfix Review by Jason Kasper

1 October 2018

If you’re looking for a comfortably predictable thriller that you can cruise through with a minimal level of attention, keep looking. Agent in Place is a densely interwoven, complex maze of conflicting loyalties, palace intrigue, and fleeting allegiances that spans the globe from the civilized streets of Paris to the murderous badlands of Syria.


Author Mark Greaney continues to blaze an impressive literary career, from coauthoring with Tom Clancy to taking over the helm of the late master’s writing empire. After accomplishing both tasks with considerable aplomb, Mark Greaney handed off the torch in order to craft his own hero, Court Gentry—the Gray Man.


I, for one, couldn’t be happier that he did.


“The action sequences of Agent in Place played out like movie scenes in my mind, and the plot’s superb pacing made an impressive 507 pages fly past as I followed Court Gentry to the closest approximation of hell on earth in the modern day Syrian battlefield…”


In his latest work, Greaney has once again succeeded in crafting Court Gentry as an imminently likable former CIA operative whose abilities under fire exceed those of almost everyone else on the planet.


At the same time, the author restrains himself from allowing his protagonist to cross the line into invincible martial arts mastery that too often serves as a genre catchall to escape from any impossible situation.


The result is a cleverly sarcastic hero with real world skills, a touch of cool gear, and most definitively, an incredible—and ruthless—resourcefulness that operates in overdrive under the most dangerous situations.


The action sequences of Agent in Place played out like movie scenes in my mind, and the plot’s superb pacing made an impressive 507 pages fly past as I followed Court Gentry to the closest approximation of hell on earth in the modern day Syrian battlefield.


Agent in Place was full of stunning twists that subverted my every expectation and drove an already complicated plot into full blown, open-ended chaos. The resulting landscape of events was as complex and fragmented as the war torn Syrian landscape brilliantly negotiated by the Gray Man from his march to execution at the hands of ISIS gunmen in the prologue, to a profoundly satisfying ending that left me grinning ear to ear—literally—in the final pages.


The fact that those ending pages passed through my fingers around midnight after I’d intended to set the book down a few hours earlier are a further testament to how truly great this book is.


One more word in praise of this exceptional work that could easily warrant its own dissertation: Court Gentry’s spoken quips within Agent in Place should, in my humble opinion, go down as the definitive master class in thriller protagonist dialogue.


As a lifelong cynic and profanity artist myself, I was truly humbled to read the hilariously wry comments that the Gray Man made at every turn. No manifestation of James Bond comes close to Court Gentry’s sparse musings in the face of danger, and whatever Mark Greaney was drinking when he wrote the dialogue for Agent in Place, I hope he saved some for the next book.