Review of The Jason King Series by Matt Rogers
Plenty of action, tension and drama, but more importantly a story that goes somewhere. The Jason King series is a step above most series in this genre.
This isn’t a review of a single book, but of the six books that make up The Jason King series. Don’t worry, no spoilers.
I only write reviews for books that have made an impact on me in some way. An enjoyable book where nothing stood out doesn’t usually lead to a review. This was the case with some of these books as individual novels. They’re enjoyable 6-8 star reads, but none screamed at me to share my thoughts. When taken as whole though, it’s a different story.
Together, these books tell the story of Jason King. He’s an American Black Ops agent, more highly trained than elite special forces. A faster than normal reaction time, iron will and extensive training makes him a one-man army. But he’s been in the life too long and wants to get out.
On the surface, that story sounds familiar. These books aren’t going to offer you anything new in this genre. However, they do offer a story that’s well told with some important differences from what’s normally in this kind of book.
Usually, these books are told in the all too familiar procedural format:
Introduce protagonist and the conflict they’ll get mixed up in Protagonist gets deeply involved and meets many supporting characters, making a big impact in their lives The main character resolves the conflict The story finds a way to return to the status quo
It is the last step in that formula that I have always taken issue with. Returning to the status quo is much the same as finishing a story with, “He woke up to find it had just been a dream.” It robs the story of impact, making it nothing more than a throwaway adventure. String enough of these together and I quickly lose interest in a series because nothing is ever changing/evolving. Worse, asking yourself how a story can return to the status quo will usually reveal the ending. Therefore, most procedurals are predictable.
This is what made the Jason King series stand out in my eyes. It doesn’t follow this formula; or at least not every step. It does have a different conflict in each novel and he is always meeting new supporting characters. However, not every book ends with a return to the status quo. Instead, each book has Jason finish in a different place than when he started and it builds up to tell a larger and much more interesting story.
It was this larger story that hooked me. As I mentioned earlier, without it these stories didn’t stand out as anything above a good procedural. However, with this overarching story we got increasing stakes in each novel, higher tension, and a protagonist I genuinely cared about. It made each decision in the novels have a new meaning because it genuinely mattered what choice was made.
In short, it made these books stand out above the norm in a very good way.
Finally, this format has another thing going for it; an ending. When you’re telling an overarching story, then your series will have a beginning, a middle and an end. It sounds simple, but I think it’s important to know that the series your reading will actually take you to an eventual conclusion. Most procedurals have the beginning, but then we get one long middle that I start to feel will eventually lead nowhere.
Overall, this simple change of making each story in a series matter to the larger story being told raised this series to another level. They have the usual fast-paced action procedural books are known for, but it has the benefit of a larger story to give each book more meaning. Though each book on their own never exceeded 8-stars in my mind, the series as a whole gets a 9. I can happily recommend reading it.
If you do fancy giving this series a try, then click on the links below to pick up a copy from Amazon.
Side Note on the Covers
I really like the covers of these books. They’re simple and work well within the genre, but more importantly, they are each obviously part of the same series. I’m always impressed by this sort of uniformity as I think it is someone using design in a smart way. If you’ve ever encountered one of these books before then just a glance at the others lets you know instantly what you can expect.
More than this, they look great on a bookshelf which makes me want to invest in physical copies.