Scarecrow Returns is his newest book. I got to read it first. :) So, I can't post too many spoilers or else I'll ruin it for Al. Although, with the thriller genre it's hard to know what will happen exactly, but usually the main character survives. Reilly's books are always enjoyable because he is capable of killing off characters good and evil without the story turning sour. He knows exactly what his audience wants and delivers it to us each time. The secondary cast does not always survive, but each death is portrayed well and with reason.
Scarecrow is the call sign of Shane M. Schofield a US Marine. He has been stationed in the arctic after dealing with yet another saving the world mission only this time he suffered more psychologically. He is on active duty but sent to help test weapons in the arctic with some civilian scientists and a few other marines. Luckily, Mother one of his friends and regular team members goes with him.
The weapons testing allows for some great new weapons for our characters to fight with, of course my favorite is Bertie an automated robot. He has a machine gun attachment as well as first aid and rations. He certainly brought more heart to the story.
This time our marines must penetrate a well-designed island fortress. Dragon Island was built by the Russians during the Cold War and as such is filled with all sorts of nasty weapons. They used it as a testing and development and it holds a device that can light the atmosphere on fire. Our heroes have only a few hours from stopping an anarchist army from detonating a this weapon. Only this time, Scarecrow has less marines, fewer weapons at his disposal and an extremely limited amount of time and options. I almost forgot to mention, he has also has a price on his head via the French government. Another reason he is in the arctic was to escape assassins.
Reilly includes easy to understand diagrams of each location. We get maps of each new phase and situation. Not to mention he provides great detail about the weaponry available to both sides, which I appreciate since my knowledge of weapons is almost non-existent. Reilly always uses each element that he provides to his characters. Each weapon and part of that weapon is utilized and each option is considered and generally our characters end up falling back on their back-up to the back-up plan.
As Scarecrow says, he will always protect each member of his team no matter who they are as long as there is life in his body. Reilly knows exactly how to keep the action and how to keep raising the stakes. The plot twists in this novel added a delightfully gripping twist.
Certainly, thrillers are not for everyone. Reilly in particular is capable of portraying violence, but there is always a sense of justice in his heroes. They know where to draw the line and how to deal with those that do not. There were some particularly gruesome scenes, but I don't want to give anything away. Spoiling a thriller really takes the entertainment out of it.
I recommend this to anyone that loves thrillers and likes to read stories where a hero attempts to save the world against insurmountable odds. You'll never know what can happen next. Reilly is always able to pull off the unthinkable, half of the fun is trying to figure out how the characters will get out of each problem. The circumstances may be a bit exaggerated, but the action is still always plausible and technically possible in the real world. The ending was extremely satisfactory as usual from a Matthew Reilly novel.