Ryan Thomason

Book Review: Hell Island

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I asked my wife to pick me up a smallish book while she was at Target the other night because I was going to be flying into California on a business trip. What she picked for me was a 122 page maybe generously spaced, with about 20 or so illustrations in it. Basically what you get is a less than 100 page short little thriller written by Matthew Reilly and the non-map illustrations nicely done by Tyler Jacobson. How was it though? I’ll let you in on my mixed review.

The premise of this book is that four different special forces teams from the US Military have been called out to a tiny island that they had kindly taken off the map when they wrestled it from the Japanese in WW2. A unit from the 82nd Airborne, SEALS, DELTA, and the main group you follow in this book, Force Reconnaissance Marines. We get them HALO jumping out of a combat plane and onto the island. The government has been doing experimental testing in trying to create a type of super soldiers. Immediately from there, people start dieing and getting their butts handed to them. Who is this unknown enemy that tactically slaughters the best trained units the military has to offer? Well, you should read the book to find out, because I try to keep my reviews spoiler free as possible.

I have to admit, I did chuckle a little bit when Matthew Reilly lets you in on who the vicious killers were in more detail. I called it before the prologue was over. Then, when he described the body armor, helmets and guns they used, I was satisfied. Oh yes. Since this is such a short book, you can take solace in knowing that is it very action packed from start to finish. I liked the main character Captain Shane Schofield or ‘Scarecrow’ as everyone called him because of the long slashes that ran from his forehead to lower jaw over his eyes. How he isn’t blind from such an accident, I don’t know. It does add to the whole, ‘this guy is a badass’ persona.

This leads into one thing that bugged me while reading this book, everyone has a nickname. Now, I may have been kept out of the military because of my hearing loss but I don’t think that every single person ends up with a nickname. Or even if they do, that is the only thing people call them by. If I’m wrong, let me know, but even in the preview of one of his other books at the very end to let you in on his other series is the same thing. All of the characters in that book had a nickname, and seemed to use it instead of their real ones. Reilly seems to really like giving people nicknames, I hope whatever he comes up with for me after reading this review is kind on me.

If you want something to kill a couple of hours, and let you go cover to cover while getting you interested in the story enough to not stop and put it down. You should at least give this book a try. It seems like something that Hollywood would snatch up and try to make a movie out of. I’m not sure if he wrote it with it leaning toward that purpose or not but he left the writing open enough for it to happen. I enjoyed the read, and it was nice to start and finish something during a 2 hour flight. I hate having to stop in the middle of reading and pick up at a later time. He’s written some other stories based around this character, so I might give them a look over for you guys.

The artwork that was interspersed through the book was nicely done, and helped give you a visual of what Reilly was trying to achieve through his words. All in all, if you want to enjoy a quick read of something start to finish in a very short time frame, take a gander at Hell Island.

The book is retail at 7.99, but my wife bought it on clearance for 4.99, which I think is a nice price for this book that has been out since 2005. $4.99/$7.99 score

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