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Lessons Learned: The Flint Stryker Thriller Series - Book 1


Not for me 😔

Lacklustre prose and lacklustre characterisation tell the lacklustre story of a lacklustre hero battling lacklustre antagonists.

Given the intriguing core premise ‘With the right motivation, even Jo Average, champion of the shallow and mediocre, can become an international man of mystery', I found the book surprisingly disappointing and a real chore to read. Though it is thankfully quite short, every aspect of this book vies to outdo the central character himself in terms of under achievement. It really is quite a shame, but the things I most struggled with were:


1. Prose - Riddled with typographic and grammatical errors, the phrasing was clunky with neither variety nor flow. I found myself continuously tripping up and having to re-read sentences that didn't parse clearly at first go.

2. Characteristation - Though the idea of turning a party-boy dropout into the next 007 is certainly intriguing and refreshing, every single other character in the book comes straight out of a 'Build your own spy novel, ages 12 to 18' construction set: a mild mannered mentor turned recruiter; a haughty and distant director; a sensual female super assassin; an overly muscular thug; a sweet but ultimately doomed love interest; an impassioned foreign super villain. Other than the fact that the protagonist spends much of his time emptying his guts into the shrubbery, there really is no innovation.

3. Convenience - Many things happen because the plot needs it that way, not because it makes sense. For instance, other than the core cast of cardboard cut outs, the University Campus where most of the action takes place appears to be deserted. No background bustle, no onlookers, no witnesses, no interaction of any kind with anyone, just tumble weed.

4. Agency - Though it is a brave attempt at portraying a protagonist of this kind, there is no avoiding the elephant in the room. Lacking goals or ambition, the main character can only re-act to the impetus of others. Nothing he does is because he wants to do it. Like a human pinball, he passively clatters punch drunk from one crisis to the next as other people take action around him.

5. Risk - Put simply, there is none. Thanks to the protagonist's mysteriously acquired quasi-magical precognition, his worst case scenario is to live alone in a trailer park. It's hardly earth shattering. Externally, the greatest risk appears to be that the questionably competent goodies might actually succeed in interfering with the plans of the utterly incompetent baddies. Quite honestly, the baddies appear to be so bad at being baddies that world peace would assuredly be best served by simply leaving them alone to discharge their own firearms into their own toecaps at regular intervals.


Whilst respecting the effort and determination that independent authors put into creating and publishing unique and ground-breaking works, I shan't be reading any more books about Flint Stryker until they have received a high quality professional edit.

Reviewed by

When not reading and reviewing books, I help indie authors on mutual critique platforms to improve their work.

As an indie author myself, I blend my experiences in advanced enginnering and international sales to create fascinating BronzePunk worlds full of complex characters.

About the author

A former NASA rocket scientist, private detective, government security operative, and Chris Pine look-alike, Allen Gregory comes by the adventurous lifestyle quite naturally. Both parents were assassins-for-hire and Gregory spent most of his childhood on the run from the CIA, MI6, and Interpol. JK view profile

Published on July 15, 2020

Published by

30000 words

Genre: Action & Adventure

Reviewed by