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Reviews - Overkill
Reviews Overkill (2)
Reviews - Pandemic
Reviews - Pandemic (2)
Reviews - Foxbat
Reviews - Foxbat (2)
Reviews - Timebomb
Reviews - Timebomb (2)
Press releases
Press coverage 1
Press coverage 2
Critique service
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Personal appearances
Writing courses

Overkill Reviews (1)

These reviews were submitted on www.amazon.co.uk and elsewhere on the Internet, and have been edited only to correct spelling mistakes. As you can see, the book didn't please everyone all of the time! Nevertheless, at the moment it still has a four-star rating on Amazon (both the British and German sites) which is higher than a lot of the current bestsellers, so I'm not too unhappy.

"What a great read. Like early Clancy before he disappeared up his own backside. Well drawn action, credible villains with plausible motivation. More of the same please."

"Although I'm quite new to this kind of book, I found it gripping. It's the sort of book you can't put down. The main character Paul Richter is fantastic (better than Bond) and the story line was well constructed. I have since read Pandemic which I found not so good, but as soon as Foxbat is released on paperback I will buy it."

"A little disappointing, but not bad. I found the plot obvious and the indestructible characters stretched my imagination a little too far. The story kept my attention though and must say I enjoyed the book."

"If you want to discover why Abilene is destroyed by a neutron bomb made by the Russians but exploded by Al Qaeda - or if you just want to read a very well written, well researched story in the James Bond style ... which will have you turning the pages without stopping ... then Overkill by James Barrington is for you - 9/10."


"This is a top notch techno espionage thriller, very much in the vein of Clancy, Vince Flynn, Stephen Coonts etc. What is great to see is that this first novel is very much as good as the best of the above authors! There is much to enjoy about this one, not just the plot and the writing but the strong characters and the British spin. This is about a plot with rogue Russians working with terrorists to plant neutron bombs in US and European cities. Maybe elements have been seen before, but the author provides a new slant on it and takes us down some unexpected routes. Very enjoyable and a much needed new talent into the market. Highly recommended."


"I bought Overkill in Spain last Sunday as I'd just finished my final Ludlum novel and, as I'd another day's holiday left I needed some new reading material to help keep me sufficiently distracted from too many thoughts of work.

            It took me no time at all to get hooked on Overkill. The subject matter was current and the UK slant for much of it was quite refreshing compared to most of the US focused novels I've been reading as of late. I just kept reading and got more and more absorbed in the various threads of the plot as the hours went by.

            My initial disappointment, that this was James Barrington's first book (published last year) and thus I couldn't just go out and buy more of the same - has been overtaken today by anticipation, given I've just seen that Pandemic (another in the series) is available now and another one is planned shortly. Hopefully I will be able to get my copy of Pandemic by the weekend!

            I can't really remember a book that has offered me the satisfaction and mix of emotions when reading that Overkill did. I felt compelled to finish it - and sadly that happened last night! The detailed descriptions of the aerial combat sequences were great. Having had a PPL in the past I could both understand some of the jargon used and it helped to keep me gripped as the action continued. Certainly gruesome at times but not in too gratuitous a way - just made it more realistic. Fast paced and grounded with a level of realism and technical explanation it just seemed to hit the right mark for me. Having some of the action take place in Orpington - a couple of miles from my home in Chislehurst was simply icing on the cake!

            Well done to James Barrington on producing such a great first novel - and for persevering to get it published. I wish him every success with Pandemic and hope that many more novels will be forthcoming in the not too distant future."


"An up-to-the-minute Clancy-style thriller with a compelling British hero, Paul Richter, who is to star in an on-going series.  Join him now as the Russians and Al-Qaeda threaten America and team up to take control of Western Europe.  It seems only one man can stop them …  thrilling stuff.  The author is a trained helicopter pilot who has worked in covert operations and espionage."


"Macmillan has secured the services of a new writer who will surely make them — the author included — a packet.

In Overkill, James Barrington has created a hero in the form of British agent Paul Richter who will not only impress readers of the genre with his skill and daring, but would have done likewise with the late Ian Fleming. James Bond is a pussycat by comparison.

Renegade Russians have painstakingly planted 200 nuclear bombs in towns across the US. Others are in Europe, where one big bomb is marked for London, and the last for Gibraltar. They threaten to detonate those in the US unless the White House stands back while they roll over Europe, regaining their superpower status. Their source of funds, tens of millions of dollars, is rabid Arab al-Qaeda sympathisers who have a dark agenda of their own — not remotely suspected by the Russians.

Barrington takes the reader through 553 pages and at no stage will he or she be anything but riveted. There is intrigue, deception, blood, torture and death in abundance. None of it is gratuitous, it all has its legitimate place.

Equally fascinating is the role of powerful computers, the internet and complex codes to plan attacks or head them off. The technicalities of this deadly chess are lucidly explained, adding value.

Welcome, Mr. Barrington. You have set the bar high and one hopes you can continue at this level."


“A political-espionage thriller woven around the subject of threat to developed nations, especially America, from terrorist groups like al-Qaeda.

           James Barrington is promoted as a “major” new talent with his maiden novel, Overkill, which is a political-espionage thriller on the lines of Tom Clancy, Stephen Coonts and Matthew Reilly. Barrington, we are told, is a trained military pilot who has worked in covert operations and espionage.

           There was a time when the cold war between America and the Soviet Union provided ample grist to the mill of espionage thrillers - be it books or cinema. Now that the Cold War is over, the rise of international terrorist groups in recent times and their activities have become the subject of pulp fiction.

           The novel is based on the premise that, though the cold war is over, the Russian arsenal of nuclear weapons is still in place and there are disgruntled elements in the Russian ministry.

The stage is set for a racy narrative when an emissary from an international terrorist group (there is a reference to al-Qaeda leadership) makes a disaffected Russian minister an offer, threatening the very survival of America.

For the terrorist group, after the triumph of September 11, this operation would permanently humiliate the United States and eliminate the countries of Western Europe as nuclear powers.

The terrorist would then implement their own procedure agreed to and approved by al-Qaeda leadership. What the renegade Russians don’t realise is that their secretive Arab allies have an even deadlier agenda, which would change the world instantly and for ever. Of course, American intelligence is not totally ignorant. The Americans suspect a weapon test in the tundra and have flown their Blackbird spy-plane to investigate the weapon test site.

           The attack on the spy-plane and its force-landing in British territory adds another dimension to the story. The Royal Air Force Intelligence Centre is curious to know when the Americans risked a major diplomatic row and a very expensive and highly classified aircraft and crew to get detailed photographs of seven hundred miles of the Russian tundra.

           In the midst of this unfolding drama, the protagonist, British agent Paul Richter, discovers that Europe has been seeded with neutron bombs, while more lethal nuclear devices have been planted in strategic cities throughout America, which can be detonated by satellite at any moment. Now the US government is about to be handed an ultimatum - abandon Western Europe to the Russian forces or see millions of its citizens destroyed. Richter is the only man with the knowledge to stop it and steps in, even as time is running out.

            Like Tom Clancy novels, Overkill is loaded with details and facts about geographical terrains, weapon systems, bureaucracy and inter-departmental rivalries, be it in UK, USA or Russia.

            It looks like readers of this genre of thrillers are likely to see more of British agent Paul Richter, like Jack Ryan of Tom Clancy novels, as the publishers inform that this is the first title in a new series featuring the British action hero."

"Quite good work. A book with a lot in common with Clancy stories, or more correctly with his older stories. Very good indeed."

"This is a very well written and exciting tale. The person who wrote it must have done a great deal of research on the subject and I feel must have been closely associated with the intelligence services to get his facts so accurate. The story is a very good spy story and I await his next book, if he writes another, with interest and I wonder if some of this is personal experience."

"What should have been a fast-moving thriller is torpedoed by the author's desire to explain *everything*. In excruciating detail. Whether it's the precise function of a particular radar system or the colour of the front door of the Russian embassy (I exaggerate... but only slightly), no detail is too small to have a page dedicated to it. It's technoporn taken to a ridiculous degree, showing off the research without actually moving the story forward. Paul Richter is also another one of those indestructible superheroes who can withstand massive amounts of punishment (which even the author acknowledges, during one of the book's many horrific torture scenes, is impossible) but then is back in perfect fitness by the next chapter. The only fault he ever has is that his specialist technical knowledge might be inferior to somebody like a professor, but no problem - a quick bit of exposition and he's up to speed with everything he needs to know. At half the length, and with a hero who wasn't so blandly invincible, Overkill would have been quite a decent thriller. As it stands, it's bloated and characterless, with what is really a rather implausible plotline. Rogue Russians and al-Qaeda join forces to nuke the West? Considering that al-Qaeda was born in Afghanistan *fighting* the Russians, it's not entirely believable!"

"This is very, very good. The hero doesn't waste time; the research is very thorough, but the technical detail is easy to read and even for a dumb-head like me, was easy to understand and enjoy; (where does the author get all this stuff?); the story is well-balanced with gripping action scenes, BUT if you are short of time, do not pick this book up, you will only put it down again when you have finished reading it. When is the next one coming out? "

"Overkill by James Barrington contains no romance and no sex but it is well written with continuous pace and action from beginning to end, which is no mean feat for 552 pages. The basic plot is well constructed, worrying and only credible in the context of recent world events.  Five nations and even more government departments each have different intelligence about what is happening and very skilfully the author weaves up to ten parallel story-lines gradually coming together.  What is more he manages to do all this without losing the reader. There is a wealth of detail about geography, weapon systems and government offices as far apart as Washington and Moscow, which could be based on research or could be imagination, but which has the ring of personal knowledge.  Barrington also hints at experience in his descriptions of inter-departmental rivalries and the difficulties of international collaboration. In places it is a bit gruesome and it is not a book for the faint-hearted, but it is otherwise an excellent read.  It will be interesting to see whether the author’s next book maintains the standard.  If so “James Barrington” could become a household name."


"An attractive cover and an exciting sounding precis of the book tempted me into making the purchase. However I have to report disappointment. A very obvious plotline that can be worked out hundreds of pages in advance, more plot holes and dire attempts to fill the gaps than anything else I have read and the most unoriginal storyline made this a poor read. It tries to be early Tom Clancy and fails at the first hurdle."


"An excellent read. A fast-paced thriller in the mould of Tom Clancy with a believable scientific & technical basis. At over 500 pages it takes time to get through but there is a temptation to stay up all night to find out how it all ends."

"If you must make your readers wait until page 317 before explaining what the hell is going on, you should at least maintain the flow and tension until then. But what we have here is a farrago of preparation, an over-detailed and over-indulgent scatter-gun approach in which tiny pieces of the jigsaw are scattered around countless fragments of narrative from a score of different locations. And the plot (when you finally reach it) is that dissident Russian intelligence bosses - without the knowledge of the Kremlin - get together with... wait for it, al-Qaeda to plant neutron bombs in Europe and America in a bid for world domination. Not merely absurd and laughable but utterly idiotic. The man who rides, flies, runs, fights and kills to the rescue is Paul Richter, one of the most viciously psychopathic and deeply unlikeable characters ever to be given a hero's role in a thriller."

"Overkill is a big book not just in terms of size. In it the West is under threat from not only from rogue Russian elements but in a chilling twist al-Qaeda as well. The book moves along at a cracking pace with the James Bond type hero, Richter, trying to save not only his country but the whole non-Arab world. James Barrington obviously has an in-depth knowledge of his subject and should go on to have more bestsellers."

"As I am not at all interested in "girly" reading, I picked up this book with eager anticipation. The cover was excellent, (a dishevelled James Dean with a gun!) I read the first page and was totally hooked from then on, Paul Richter is obviously my type of man! God, does this sort of torture really go on? I held my breath when Richter was fumbling for the snooker ball to kill Yuri! Good for Penny Walters to spot the "hill" on the film! I read the book quickly, taking it to bed each night, it was just so difficult to put it down! James Barrington, write another one and soon!!"



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Last modified: Tuesday, 27 January 2009