Grade A #BookReview: Gryphon by M.L. Buchman

Grade A #BookReview: Gryphon by M.L. BuchmanGryphon (Miranda Chase NTSB #14) by M L Buchman
Format: ebook
Source: author
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: action adventure, political thriller, technothriller, thriller
Series: Miranda Chase NTSB #14
Pages: 370
Published by Buchman Bookworks on January 23, 2024
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBookshop.orgBetter World Books
Goodreads

With the rising threat of Russia, Sweden joins NATO for its own protection. But someone wants to make them pay—in blood. Sweden’s home-built, world-class jet fighters, the Saab JAS 39E Gripen—named for the mythological Gryphon—are falling out of the skies. The stability, the very existence of NATO could be torn apart, as if trapped in the Gryphon’s mighty eagle claws. Can Miranda’s team of air-crash investigators solve the crisis before the powerful lion-half shreds them asunder?

My Review:

Like all of the previous entries in the Miranda Chase series from the very first page in Drone, Gryphon is an edge-of-the-seat political technothriller with World War III looming over every action on every page.

What makes this OMG FOURTEENTH book in the series stand out is that this is the one where all of the hyper-competent people that we have come to know and love over the course of the series so far are anything but.

Not that they don’t still manage to get the job done – because of course they do! – but rather because it’s clear from the opening page that all of the members of Miranda’s team are broken after the events of Osprey – and Miranda herself is the most broken one of them all.

It’s hard to lead anyone anywhere when your heart, your soul and your entire psyche are lying in pieces on the ground at your feet.

But time, tide, plane crashes and international catastrophes wait for no one. Even if not a single one of Miranda’s team remotely has their shit together, between them they still have enough to figure out exactly which enemy is responsible for the recent series of disasters plaguing Sweden’s civilian and military aviation.

Although Sweden doesn’t have a whole lot of enemies. Which doesn’t make Ian Fleming’s old truism any less true, that “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.” It’s just that this time around they’ll have to start by identifying just who they have to stop.

Escape Rating A: Gryphon is a hard read for fans of Miranda Chase and her team. Which isn’t to say that it’s not a good read, because it oh-so-definitely is. But rather, it’s hard to see people that we’ve come to like and respect and care about act this observably broken.

It’s a heartbreaking response to the events of the previous book, but damn it hurts to watch.

But it does make it easy for someone, actually a few someones, to slip a whole lot of things past them all – because they are all very much NOT at the top of their respective games. More like at the bottom.

The crisis is a conundrum, because it only makes sense in bad ways. Either the Swedish aviation industry is having the worst luck in the universe, over and over, or someone is out to get them. And yet, the usual suspects are all quiet.

And on the third hand being held behind someone’s back, considering the current crisis in the Ukraine, blaming Russia for everyone’s troubles is a damnably easy conclusion to jump to. So it becomes a question of whether Russia has faked out literally everyone – or whether someone else is trying to make it look that way in the hopes of, what? Causing World War III? Who is crazy enough to want to ring that bell?

A question which, in its own way, is at the center of what makes this series so damn good. Because both the question and the solution in each entry in the series isn’t about the techno part of the thriller. It’s always about the human factors. Technology may make the events and crises and calamities and near-catastrophes possible, but it’s always human beings who set them into motion for all too human reasons.

And it’s the humans of Miranda’s team – pulling together and putting it all together – that have to stop the worst from happening.

Not that the tech isn’t fascinating and not that we don’t get a lot of it while following Miranda and her team – but it’s the humans we feel for and with and it’s the human cost of the disaster they’re trying to prevent that make us keep turning pages until they pull literally everyone’s fat out of whatever particular fire they’re facing this time around.

And all of that is just, well, harder in Gryphon because the humans on all sides of this particular equation are all broken, The villains are broken because the game they are playing is not worth the cost, and the ‘good guys’ are broken because they’ve been pulling separately instead of pulling together, so they’re a mess and getting messier by the day.

Whether the radical solution they come up with to begin to start fixing their broken places is something that we’ll all get to find out in the next book in this awesome series, Wedgetail. Until that comes out this summer, we’ll all just have to hope right along with the rest of the team.

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