Publication Order of Jonathan Grave Books
|No Mercy||(2009)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Hostage Zero||(2010)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Threat Warning||(2011)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Damage Control||(2012)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|High Treason||(2013)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Soft Targets||(2013)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|End Game||(2014)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Against All Enemies||(2015)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
John Gilstrap’s Jonathan Grave series follow the exploits of an ex-elite-soldier-turned-freelance-private-investigator. However, there is more to this odd job transition than meets the eye, as Grave’s new job is apparently just a front for his real profession, which is hostage rescue expert. He does this with the help from his “Security Solutions” team as well as a little assistance from the FBI from time to time. Pretty much all of the books in the series revolve around the rescue operations of Grave and his equally highly-trained team, but the author does manage to give each of the books in the series an original touch.
The series does contain a uniform aspect, however, as majority of the books follows a perceivable pattern of multilayered plotlines. This is to be expected in a series that focuses on the mystery and thriller genre though. And even if this is the case, the author is actually able to magically make the said pattern function as a blank canvas on which he can paint multiple masterpieces. This is because every book in the series manages to stand out on its own, and, no doubt, many fans of the series would agree with this.
Part of what makes the series appealing to the general public is because its protagonist is almost always pitted against adversaries that a lot of us find detestable and despicable in the real world. From greedy bureaucrats and slave owners to drug lords and oppressive religious groups, Jonathan Grave deals with them with a professional coldness that is all but rare, if not totally absent, in reality. And this certainly provides a completely fresh look at an already universally appealing notion; the notion of being able to get back at the bad guys, using means which are not entirely arbitered by our traditional sense of morality.
The series is also known for its strong language, highly-detailed action scenes and candid depictions of violence and other criminal acts. In almost every book, explosions, gun fights, and gore abound to complement the gradual unraveling of a lingering mystery. This style is clearly what defines John Gilstrap’s skill as an action writer. Many readers have compared reading Jonathan Grave books to watching an action movie, and this definitely rings true as evidenced by its author’s high-octane prose.
A Brief Profile of Jonathan Grave
Jonathan Grave’s background can pique anyone’s interest from the outset. A wealthy ex-Delta soldier with a secret profession as vigilante is enough to evoke in anyone comic book characters like Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark. But Jonathan Grave is far from being a mere alteration of the said popular characters; a fact which becomes more apparent as the series progresses.
Besides his already intriguing background, many of the series’ readers praise Jonathan Grave’s depiction as a round character. His complex personality makes him a perfect hero in the eyes of many. And the perfect hero, as it turns out, has to have his inner demons. The mere fact that he is not without flaws is what drives the reader to appreciate him as the main character of the series.
He gives the impression that all of his decisions and actions stem from a firm belief in his own set of moral standards. These standards allow him to evade the shackles of conventional morality. For instance, he will not hesitate to kill the very people who are, ironically, keeping his secret profession alive. His eagerness to kill his adversaries (mainly terrorists) do not necessarily connote that he does not respect them or their beliefs, but stems more from his rather twisted reasoning that he is allowing them to die for their cause in the process.
He also keeps a comfortable distance from even his closest friends and confidants, especially at times when he is most emotionally vulnerable. His ego could also get the better of him, and this makes him appear contemptibly obnoxious at times. But all of these negative aspects, if taken together with his other traits and characteristics, are what actually endear him to the reader. Apart from the stories’ action, these qualities make him one of the primary driving forces of the series.
‘No Mercy’ is the first book of the series and is, undoubtedly, what catapulted the Jonathan Grave series into popularity. The plot begins with the kidnapping of a college student named Thomas Hughes, whose rescuing goes awry. From this failed operation, a deeper, more clandestine agenda by a shadow company is revealed, albeit still only subtly. Not soon afterward, his ex-wife contacts him to help her rescue her husband. As the plot progresses, more of Grave’s personality is revealed and members of his Security Solutions team are slowly introduced. The story’s inarguably fast pace, however, inevitably unravels the more intricate plot structure as Grave and his team gets tangled in a conflict with a powerful, greedy corporation that would stop at nothing to further their avaricious goals.
‘No Mercy’ serves to introduce the reader to John Gilstrap’s writing style, which, incidentally, a lot of readers of this genre find satisfactory and which really fits his stories’ subjects perfectly. It also laid the excellent foundation of a series that has since gained a major following.
The sequel to ‘No Mercy’, ‘Hostage Zero’ starts off with the raiding by armed men of the ‘Resurrection House’ where two teen-aged boys are staying. The boys are consequently kidnapped and Jonathan Grave is hired to find and retrieve them. Grave and his team’s search takes them from the Alaskan wilds to the sweltering jungles of Colombia where they come into conflict with warlords, whose power is cemented by the local drug trade, as well as slave owners. As Grave delves deeper into the case, it is revealed that the kidnapping was actually perpetrated by a politician who wants to erase a past campaign problem. Realizing the connection angers Grave more and becomes more resolute in rescuing the boys.
‘Hostage Zero’ showcases vintage Gilstrap with plenty of action and violence. A lot about Grave is revealed as well, especially on a more personal level.Book Series In Order » Characters » Jonathan Grave