Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” —Groucho Marx

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Thin Black Line by Simon Gervais--A Review

Publication Date: April 07, 2015 

Number of Pages: 400 

Purchase Links: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - 


Mike Walton had experienced terrorism from every angle. As a covert field operations officer, he thought he`d seen it all. But that was before terrorism struck him directly at home. Suffering devastating physical injury and unthinkable personal loss, Mike had one of two choices: give up or fight back. And giving up wasn`t in his makeup.

Mike and his wife Lisa - a medical doctor and fellow counter-terrorism expert - are recruited by the International Market Stabilization Institute, a privately funded organization operating outside official channels to protect North America`s financial interests. The strikes that destroyed Mike and Lisa`s household - the work of Sheik Al-Assad - are bringing the Western economy to its knees. And they are only the beginning. If the Sheik succeeds, the world will change forever, and the next attack is just around the corner. Mike and Lisa must lead a hastily assembled team to Europe to stop the madness before time runs out.

Rippling with tension, raging with action, and replete with the kinds of details only a true counter-terrorism insider can provide, The Thin Black Line is a nonstop thriller of the first order. It announces an unforgettable new team of characters and a distinctive new voice to the thriller world.


SIMON GERVAIS was born in Montral, Qubec. He joined the Canadian military as an infantry officer and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1997. Assigned to the Infantry School in Gagetown, New Brunswick, he received extensive training in advanced reconnaissance and small-unit tactics.

In 2001, he became a federal agent. His first posting was in Toronto, where he served as a drug investigator. During this time, he worked on many international drug-related cases in close collaboration with his American colleagues from the DEA. However, in 2004, his career switched gears and he was placed with a federal anti-terrorism unit based in the Ottawa Region. During the following years, he was deployed in numerous European and Middle Eastern countries.

In 2009, he became a close-protection specialist tasked with guarding foreign heads of state visiting Canada. Among many others, he served on the protection details of Queen Elizabeth II, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President, Hu Jianto.

In 2012, Simon was transferred to his organizations counter-surveillance unit. During the next two years, he participated in a number of intelligence gathering operations. In May 2014, he returned to his former unit to serve as a bodyguard for the American ambassador to Canada until his retirement in September 2014.

Simon is now a full-time writer and a member of the International Thriller Writers. He has volunteered as the Security Director of ThrillerFest since 2013. His debut novel THE THIN BLACK LINE will be published by Lou Aronica at The Story Plant on April 7th, 2015. He is represented by literary agent Eric Myers of The Spieler Agency.

Simon, his wife and their two children divide their time between Ottawa and South Florida, which they consider their second home.



Mike was a few meters behind the four suspected terrorists when he heard the familiar sound of an automatic weapon firing in the distance. He whipped his head toward the noise and decided it was coming from the direction of the tarmac. The Ottawa police officers who had just arrived on scene looked at each other in disbelief. 

Then time seemed to shudder to a stop. 

As if the clatter of gunfire was the cue they`d been waiting for, the four suspected terrorists pulled out AMD-65 submachine guns they had concealed under their heavy clothing and opened fire on the startled police officers. Several of them tried to reach for their guns but were cut down before their hands touched their holsters. Rounds upon rounds were lodged in the officers` chest cavities, for their bulletproof vests weren`t designed to stop the 7.62mm rounds. 

As Mike was reaching for his 9mm Smith and Wesson pistol, he heard a muffled explosion coming from the airplane. Shit. Dropping to one knee to make him as small a target as possible, Mike tried to aim his pistol at the nearest shooter. But with all the scared and panicked passengers running to and fro struggling to find cover, he could not get a clear shot. 

Cursing, Mike looked around, trying to find something he could use as cover. He spotted a concrete pylon five meters to his left and went for it.

What the fuck? This isn`t Afghanistan! Mike thought, clenching his teeth.


Asad Wafid had the pleasure of seeing the five police officers he fired at go down as he emptied thirty rounds into them. He expertly released the magazine and replaced it with a fresh one. He was proud of Hassan and Fadl. They had initiated contact the moment they thought they were compromised. Well done! 

Focusing his attention on the unarmed Canada customs officers who were trying to hide behind the Air Canada ticket counter, he grabbed an M67 grenade from the left pocket of his overcoat and took out the pin. He calmly counted to three, then lobbed the grenade behind the ticket counter. It exploded two seconds later. Wafid was rewarded with strangled screams. When several wounded officers crawled out from behind the counter, another grenade thrown by one of his brothers in faith finished them off. 

Wafid felt a sense of accomplishment. No more screams came from behind the desk. 


Zima Bernbaum`s heart had jumped when she`d heard the crackling of gunfire. She quickly deduced that terrorists were fighting over control of the aircraft with Paul Robichaud. Before she could provide backup for Robichaud, the four men Mike had been following had suddenly opened fire on the crowd.

After reaching for her pistol inside her purse, she slipped off her high-heel shoes and took cover behind the metal recycling bin on her left. It wouldn`t stop a bullet, but it did provide concealment behind which she could assess the situation. She looked for Mike, but he had disappeared the moment the bullets had started flying. She pointed her firearm toward one of the terrorists, but a terrified young father and his tall son darted in front of her, pushed away from an attacker`s line of fire by a courageous army captain, effectively blocking her shot. Just as a spray of bullets cut down the military officer, Zima felt a tremendous punch to her stomach. 


After safely reaching the concrete pylon, Mike scanned the area around him. Some people were still madly dashing for safety, but most were smart enough to have found some kind of cover. Just then a fusillade of bullets chiseled the concrete just inches from his face, forcing him to remain immobile. 

Damn! That was close. 

After the firing in his direction had subsided, Mike counted to five. Then, taking a deep breath, he poked his head out from behind the pylon just long enough to see one of the gunmen throw a grenade behind the Air Canada counter. 

Another couple of rounds hit the pylon, forcing Mike to take cover and spattering pieces of concrete into his face and shoulders. The grenade exploded loudly, followed shortly after by a second blast.

Damn it! cursed Mike. Where the fuck is the backup? Where`s Zima? He had lost visual contact with her. With Robichaud having his hands full on the airplane and all the police officers down, Mike knew he was the only one who could stop this bloodbath. He was outnumbered and outgunned, but still, he had to do something or the body count would keep rising. Perspiration was quickly forming on his forehead, and his pulse was hammering off the charts. 

I can`t believe this is actually happening. Shit! Shit! Shit! 

A little voice inside his head reminded him that next time, he should maybe be a little more careful about what he wished for...

Mike looked around him. 


Think, Mike! he commanded himself as he concentrated on controlling his breathing. His first target should be the gunman who kept firing at his position. Kneeling down so he wouldn`t appear to be in the same position he had been when he`d taken that quick look moments ago, Mike adjusted his stance. Making sure to remain under the cover of the pylon as much as possible, he extended his arm, took quick aim at the terrorist, who was busy reloading his weapon, and fired two rounds within half a second. He hit his target squarely in his center mass.

Goddammit! From his covered position, he saw that even though the gunman staggered a few steps backward, he didn`t go down. They`re wearing body armor! 

Aiming higher, Mike fired two more rounds. This time his target went down with two bullet holes in the forehead.

Mike inched his neck out farther from behind the cement pier and saw the first passengers come pouring out of the aircraft and into the waiting area. With so many people rushing behind them, they couldn`t turn back once they entered Gate 17 and realized what carnage was awaiting them there. 

Mike caught sight of one of the three remaining gunmen pointing his AMD-65 in the general direction of the oncoming passengers. Mike raised his weapon and emptied two rounds into the terrorist`s armor-clad chest. He adjusted his aim and pulled the trigger again. His third bullet entered the base of his target`s skull and exited through his mouth. A gush of blood sprayed the wall to the right of the Jetway.


I rated this a five wink read.    Yes, I lost a fair amount of sleep over The Thin Black Line as I couldn't put it down.   With the very first words, I was hooked and locked in for a hair raising ride with this book.

Everything I imagine our scary world to be was emmulated in this story of terrorism and heroism.   Characters were well developed and fleshed out.   The plot  flowed smoothly to a satisfying conclusion.   I desperately want to read more about Mike and Lisa Walton's journey into saving our world.

This is a very fast paced, breath holding and hair raising thriller.    Words really don't convey the realism and believability of this work of art, rather Simon Gervais.   I found it to be intriguing and can't wait for more from this exciting new author!

Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like.  I received a copy of this book from the author or their representative in exchange for an honest review.

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