Review: “Cold Barrel Zero,” Matthew Quirk

Pros: Quite a back-and-forth military thriller
Cons: Gets a bit confusing in places
Rating: 4 out of 5

In Matthew Quirk’s Cold Barrel Zero an old special ops team is coming back together with two purposes: to clear their names, and protect their country from terrorists. They’ve been accused of killing a town full of innocent men, woman, and children, and they’re all in hiding–particularly Hayes, who was in charge of that unit. Now they’re waking up, calling on their resources, and doing everything they can to stop a whole lot more deaths from happening. Hayes makes Tom Byrne, a doctor, go along with them, even though Tom can’t know for sure whether Hayes and his people are guilty. Tom’s girlfriend Kelly is also military and a good shot, so she ends up attaching herself to their operation.


Most of the book is told in the third person, but Tom Byrne’s sections are in first person. It’s a quick and handy way to know whose PoV you’re currently in. I liked most of the characters in here. Some of the side characters only got a few bold strikes of color, but the main ones did well. I like that Byrne mostly believes Hayes, but retains some very reasonable doubts.

Some of the best parts involve figuring out certain characters’ identities and roles in the mess, so I’ll be sure not to spoil those for you.

There’s plenty of action, lots of explosions and gunfire, knife attacks, and running like hell. Cold Barrel Zero is both action novel and thriller. I sometimes wanted more personal background on the members of Hayes’s team, but on the other hand this method made it easier to draw out the ‘is he or isn’t he guilty’ question for Hayes. The pacing is great, and even the epilogues have a dose of violence. This isn’t an incredibly deep work, but it makes for a distracting action-read!


NOTE: Book provided free for review by publisher.
Expected publication date: March 29, 2016

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