book reviews

Book Review: The Temporary Agent

The Temporary AgentThe Temporary Agent 

by Daniel Judson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

I picked Daniel Judson’s The Temporary Agent (Thomas & Mercer 2016) from NetGalley because of the vague similarities between the main character, ex-Seabee Tom Sexton, and Lee Child’s Jack Reacher. Tom’s a talented ex-military guy who chooses the life of a vagabond rather than use his prodigious warrior skills to build a lucrative career. We meet Tom as a blue-collar factory worker. During the day, he works his grindingly boring job; evenings, he spends with the woman he’s known only six months but long enough to fall in love with. Despite facts to the contrary, he seems content, seemingly in possession of everything he needs in life to be happy.

That all changes when he gets a call from an old military friend, one  he promised over a decade ago he would answer should it come in. As Tom tries to help his friend, his goal remains what it has always been: to live a sedentary, private life. Dribbled in between Tom almost being killed and risking his life to save a woman he barely knows–certainly not enough to trust–Judson dribbles bits and pieces of Tom’s background that tell us much about this quiet, decisive man with an instinctive talent for survival:

“Fear had long since been conditioned out of him.”

“Men who mistook violence for adventure. Men who were just a little too eager to use their deadly skills.”

“For the first time in Tom’s life, he was about to intentionally step outside the law.”

The closer Tom gets to finding the man he’s hunting, the more the ground shifts beneath his feet, until Tom has no idea who he can trust and if the man who saved his life so long ago is trying to set him up.

Judson is a masterful storyteller, creating colorful descriptions that are as good as any I’ve read, underlying Tom’s emotions with an almost visceral need to stay away from the violent life of war and death. Though a thriller, the story is character-driven in the way the Jack Reacher series is, revolving around a man who is fiercely law-abiding as well as polite to those who deserve it and respectful of authority. Throughout the story, these traits shape his decisions, as he ends up back in a world he ran from, one inhabited by those who embrace violence, and ultimately struggles over whether to break the law or turn in someone he trusts–neither a solution he can live with.

More thrillers:

The Singer From Memphis

My Winter with Berger and Mitrie

Point of Control

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller, To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member forJournal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

23 thoughts on “Book Review: The Temporary Agent

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  5. Great review, Jacqui and I think like me you don’t easily give a five star review. I like the way the book is character driven and I feel for the guy. Tom should never have picked up that call!! But then there would been no book…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t–especially to authors I’ve never read before. I’m always a bit suspicious of them. Lee Child, Daniel Silva–I’d be shocked if their books weren’t five-stars, but it takes a while for me to get to know the author to give him that much credit.

      Liked by 1 person

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