book review,  Books

Book Review: The Gryphon Heist by James R Hannibal

Hold on to your hats, because The Gryphon Heist by James R. Hannibal was unputdownable! I haven’t picked up a spy novel in a long time, and this one did NOT disappoint!

I’m excited to be sharing another great book on a Lone Star Lit Book Blog Tour; many thanks to the author for providing me with a copy of the book and offering up one FANTASTIC giveaway (make sure you check it out and enter. I’ll give you two hints: books and coffee!)

Read on to see why I love this one SO much – and why it will make me add this genre back into my regular book rotation!

The Gryphon Heist, a fast-paced, tech-gadget spy novel which will keep you guessing who is on whose side. #TheGryphonHeist #spy #thriller #giveaway

(Talia Inger, Book One)

Genre: Contemporary Christian / Thriller / Suspense
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: September 3, 2019
Number of Pages: 400

Scroll down for the giveaway!

The Gryphon Heist, a fast-paced, tech-gadget spy novel which will keep you guessing who is on whose side. #TheGryphonHeist #spy #thriller

Talia Inger is a rookie CIA case officer assigned not to the Moscow desk as she had hoped but to the forgotten backwaters of Eastern Europe–a department only known as “Other.” When she is tasked with helping a young, charming Moldovan executive secure his designs for a revolutionary defense technology, she figures she’ll be back in DC within a few days. But that’s before she knows where the designs are stored–and who’s after them. 

With her shady civilian partner, Adam Tyler, Talia takes a deep dive into a world where criminal minds and unlikely strategies compete for access to the Gryphon, a high-altitude data vault that hovers in the mesosphere. But is Tyler actually helping her? Or is he using her for his own dark purposes?


“A movie-worthy tale of espionage and intrigue. Hannibal has done it again.”–Steven James, national bestselling author of Every Wicked Man

“James Hannibal has crafted a story slam full of mystery, danger, twists, and turns. I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough–or bother to stop to breathe. You don’t want to miss this one!”–Lynette Eason, bestselling, award-winning author of the Blue Justice series

The Gryphon Heist plunges readers into a world where no one can be trusted, nothing is as it seems, and choosing the wrong side could be catastrophic.”–Lynn H. Blackburn, award-winning and bestselling author of the Dive Team Investigations series

“Leap on board The Gryphon Heist and ride the whirlwind of suspense. Don’t let go!”–DiAnn Mills, bestselling author of Burden of Proof


Baker Book House ◆ Amazon ◆ Barnes & Noble ◆ Kobo ◆ Books-A-Million
Additional Retailers   

James R Hannibal has written one high-speed roller coaster of a tale, so be sure to make yourself a snack when you settle in with this one, because it was impossible to put down.

In Talia Inger, he has crafted an extraordinary heroine: brave, smart, and damaged enough to have some serious trust issues. Which, as it turns out, may not be a terrible thing as a CIA officer, because accompanying her on this ride is a brilliant cast of characters that you will love – and hate to distrust. On top of that, who CAN she trust – her new donut-loving boss who resides in a basement-dwelling department titled “Other”, the civilian “consultant” she has been tasked to work with, the brilliant aerospace tech genius she is sent to assess, or the mentor who brought her into the CIA?

“The job was to complete the mission.” Jordan looked her in the eyes. “We serve a greater good. And sometimes that responsibility mandates a broken rule. Sometimes it demands sacrifice.”

Hannibal has crafted some truly memorable characters, likable despite knowing most of them are criminals. My favorite characters were the truly genius/mad bomber Darcy and the crew’s wheelman and pilot Mac, a Scottsman with a hearty appetite and a wicked smart brain. However, all the characters were vividly drawn and more complex than I expected. The bond between CIA tech geek/hacker Eddie and Talia is strong. Eddie’s nerd humor provides a quirky and fun comic relief against the tension of the novel.

And does it move! This is a story with layers, and you really can’t tell who is playing who. They set out to outwit the assassin Lukon by pretending to be Lukon and his team and steal- but who is pretending? Above all, who IS Tyler, and whose side is he on? What really is the game at hand?

“So we’re not just stealing the hypersonic designs. If we move fast, we’ll be hijacking Lukon’s team before he can hire them.”

The story was exciting from beginning to end. It’s replete with evasive chases, a bevy of amazing tech from spy gadgetry to planes that fly in the mesosphere (which I had to Google, I was so intrigued), plenty of cleverly planned explosions, insane stunts, and a down-to-the-last-minute operation using a Russian ekranoplan. The latter also necessitated a Google search to figure out if it was a plane or a ship. (Hint: it’s kind of both.) From Talia’s super cool Inspector Gadgetesque sunglasses to Eddie’s tiny drone (named “Sibby”), the story had as many fun details as it did action scenes.

Talia watched her phone disappear. “My whole life was on that thing.”

“And now it’s on your new one. Along with a few bonuses. Everything the modern spy needs – camera, maps, voice recorder, sat phone, translator-“

“Can I shoot someone with it?”

Underlying the main plot arc is Talia’s backstory. Her father died in a horrible car accident which she survived, leaving her an orphan who bounced in and out of foster homes. The trauma left her with phantom pain in her side when she is anxious, and caused her subconscious to block most of the memory. There’s something about his death that now makes her think there is more to it than what she knew, and signs appear that make her wonder if the mission she is working has ties to her father’s death.

The Gryphon Heist is also a story about redemption and forgiveness. Tyler’s character delivers a message about the difference in doing things for the purpose of morality versus the greater good. It’s not a message you would expect to find in an action-driven spy thriller replete with bombs going off everywhere and machine guns, but there you are.

Confession: I haven’t read anything in the true spy genre for a while. THIS was the most fun I’ve had with the genre since my Tom Clancy/Jack Ryan days. The book’s dry humor and banter remind me of Robert Ludlum’s The Road to Gandolfo – a longtime favorite.

The book ties up the main plot neatly while leaving an opening for the next book in the Talia Inger series, Chasing the White Lion. This next entry will be released in March 2020 and a few teaser chapters have been included!!

If you are looking for a fast-paced spy thriller that will keep you guessing, has engaging, likable (even though you shouldn’t) characters, and a bit of DEPTH to it, too, you’re going to want to read The Gryphon Heist.

photo of James R Hannibal, author of The Gryphon Heist

Former stealth pilot James R. Hannibal is a two-time Silver Falchion Award winner for his Section 13 mysteries for kids and a Thriller Award nominee for his Nick Baron covert ops series for adults. James is a rare multi-sense synesthete, meaning all of his senses intersect. He sees and feels sounds and smells and hears flashes of light. He lives in Houston, Texas.

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Goodreads  Amazon Author Page


GRAND PRIZE: Copy of The Gryphon Heist 
+ Gryphon Ornament + Clip Bookmarks + $10 Starbucks Gift Card; 

SECOND PRIZE: Copy of The Gryphon Heist 
+ $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card;

THIRD PRIZE: Copy of The Gryphon Heist  
+ $10 Starbucks Gift Card

September 26-October 6, 2019
(U.S. Only)

giveaway for The Gryphon Heist By James R Hannibal
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