Mercenaries haven’t really been a staple of mainstream thrillers since the ’80s. Tom Clancy introduced Jack Ryan, an analyst, as the hero of his techno-thrillers, and it seemed to set the tone for much of the genre to come. Harold Coyle’s heroes were mostly tankers. Dale Brown’s were bomber pilots. As the GWOT got started, even the more shadowy operatives, like Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp and Brad Taylor’s Pike Logan were still directly operating within the government apparatus, if so black that they “didn’t exist.” So, why did I go with mercenaries for the Praetorian series, Kill Yuan, and the Brannigan’s Blackhearts series? Well, I think that has several answers.
Jack Murphy definitely has a way with titles. Gray Matter Splatter is a title that few could pull off, particularly in a day and age of nonsensical buzzword thriller titles like True Faith and Allegiance. But Jack pulls it off, somehow. Gray Matter Splatter is a breakneck bloodbath in the Arctic, a bit of a change of pace from the last couple Deckard installments.