#Review “66 Metres (Nadia Laksheva Spy Thriller Series, Book 1)” by J.F. Kirwan

5/5 Stars!

Gritty. 66 Metres is gritty.

Exactly what is expected in the shadowy world of crime families, covert operatives, and terrorists looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and those who crave only power.

There are no good guys. Only those with agendas—be they escaping past demons or seeking to possess future riches.

There are no friendships… only alliances.

And they are temporary.

Nadia Laksheva is our protagonist, trapped into service for five years in this dangerous world to pay off a debt, and free older sister, Katya, one of several concubines [sex slaves] kept by Russian crime boss, Kadinsky.

I respect Nadia. She never gives up or gives in. Despite her tenth and last op going horribly wrong through no fault of her own, Nadia knows to not deliver “the package” to Kadinsky is a death sentence for her sister…and for her when she is eventually found. She’s knows trusting Kadinsky at all is a leap of faith… and a lot of hope

That being said, I’m still not sure if I like Nadia. Don’t misunderstand me, she’s not a bad person. But she’s in her own head a bit too much… dwelling… on past events and past conversations. She’s searching for wisdom, at the age of twenty-three (initially eighteen), she does not possess, and it leads to hasty/bad decisions—which is how she ended up in debt to Kadinsky. To be fair, I’m not sure if Nadia ever had a clear path to a different life. Between finding out the truth about her father only after he was killed, and the prickly relationship she had with her mother, she didn’t have much guidance. But, I don’t have to like her to be in her corner. She is no wimp, and somehow needs a break from the death and madness.

Former MI6 operative, Jake Saunders, is coerced back into service to recover ‘the package’ Nadia is hiding. Jake has issues of his own he needs resolved and goes on the hunt for Nadia. However, he becomes conflicted—how can he complete his assignment AND save Nadia?

Sound simple enough? It isn’t. The devil’s in the details…and there are lots of details.

66 Metres has a large cast of thugs, henchmen, hit-men, terrorists, corrupt officials, and rubes who pass through, some only lasting for a scene or two. However, the author has done a masterful job of making these brief appearances memorable. It’s even possible to see ‘human’ sides to some of the baddies and better understand their motives.

Well, except for pond scum Slick and Pox, who had no redeeming social value. And Kadinsky.

One of the best parts of this read is the significance of the title. It doesn’t only have meaning for the protagonist, but all the divers in the book understand… and respect the depth of 66 metres. The author gives readers a great visual when Nadia sits outside the ice cream parlor and imagines herself at the base of a twenty-story building with the roof being the water’s surface. The thought made Nadia shiver…and me too!

Fans of international crime and intrigue will enjoy this read, but I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a well-written story with a complex plot, and twists and turns on ever page. I’m looking forward to reading book 2, 37 Hours.



The only thing worth killing for is family.cover

Everyone said she had her father’s eyes. A killer’s eyes. Nadia knew that on the bitterly cold streets of Moscow, she could never escape her past – but in just a few days, she would finally be free.

Bound to work for Kadinsky for five years, she has just one last mission to complete. Yet when she is instructed to capture The Rose, a military weapon shrouded in secrecy, Nadia finds herself trapped in a deadly game of global espionage.

And the only man she can trust is the one sent to spy on her…

Amazon US | Amazon UKKoboGoodreads


JF KirwanJ. F. Kirwan is the author of the Nadia Laksheva thriller series for HarperCollins. Having worked in accident investigation and prevention in nuclear, offshore oil and gas and aviation sectors, he uses his experience of how accidents initially build slowly, then race towards a climax, to plot his novels. An instructor in both scuba diving and martial arts, he travels extensively all over the world, and loves to set his novels in exotic locations. He is also an insomniac who writes in the dead of night. His favourite authors include Lee Child, David Baldacci and Andy McNab.

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