Only To Die Again
Date Published22 October 2015
Price£ 6.99

Only To Die Again

by Patrick Lee

Sam Dryden doesn’t hesitate when he’s asked for help by an old friend, but soon finds himself up to his neck in trouble.


Sam Dryden made his first appearance in Runner, an excellent pursuit thriller with some very clever twists and turns, so when the next book in what is clearly now a series turned up, I was fascinated to see what Patrick Lee had come up with next. And even from a starting point of high expectations, Only To Die Again certainly didn’t disappoint.

When former-black ops soldier Sam Dryden gets a call from an old friend from his days in the military, he doesn’t hesitate and he doesn’t ask for explanations, he just jumps straight in and does what needs to be done – in this case, rescuing four young girls held captive in a remote shack in the desert.

It’s only afterwards that Sam starts to question how his friend Clare Dunham knew where the girls were being held, why there was such a need for secrecy and why it was imperative that they had to be away from the shack before the cops arrived. There’s also the matter of how Clare knows trouble is coming their way well before she should have done.

I will freely admit that the first few chapters of Only To Die Again had me thoroughly confused, forcing me to backtrack in a vain attempt to work out what the hell was going on. But when back-tracking didn’t help, I ploughed on in the hope of eventually working it all out. I was very glad I did, as explanations do come, and by then I was absolutely engrossed in the story.

Patrick Lee has once again produced an excellent chase thriller, every bit as fast-moving as Runner, only this time the cat and mouse game Sam Dryden has to play with his pursuers is even harder than in his last outing, as the current crop of villains have the technology not only to track him but also to always be one step ahead.

Only To Die Again borders on science fiction while always managing to seem perfectly grounded in reality – definitely a hard trick to pull off, but Lee succeeds magnificently. His characters work well with their backs against the wall: FBI agent Marnie Calvert is thoroughly out of her depth, but has no intention of giving up or getting out, and Sam Dryden makes an excellent protagonist, as hard as nails but with no macho posturing. He just quietly and efficiently gets the job done.

Lee has produced another highly polished techno-thriller and I loved it, even though trying to follow the plot nearly broke my brain on occasions!

Reviewed 13 February 2016 by Linda Wilson