Book Club review of Russell Blake’s The Geronimo Breach

The Geronimo Breach exceeded all expectations, and establishes Russell Blake as a first rate thriller writer.

Meet Albert, a degenerate, slovenly diplomat stationed at the U.S. Consulate in Panama City. Prone to gambling debt, plagued by chronic drinking and continuously undermined by a series of bad decisions, Al is a shambles of a human being, on the verge of self-destruction. He occasionally takes jobs escorting people to Panama’s borders, just to earn enough cash to cover his debts.

Meet Ernesto, a simple man, just trying to make a living as an illegal alien in Panama. A longtime private cook for a wealthy estate, he finds himself suddenly out of a job, with no explanation. No longer able to work in Panama, he needs to get back to Colombia, which is no easy feat.

Unfortunately for Al, he picked the wrong week to bet on a losing soccer team. Pressed for cash, he takes an easy escort job to the Columbian border.

Al…Meet Ernesto.   Did I mention that Al has sticky fingers?

Ernesto took something that doesn’t belong to him from the estate, and ignites a no-holds barred, scorched earth search for the object, bringing the wrath of the U.S. government down onto the streets of Panama and the deadly jungles of Columbia.

Russell Blake delivers the goods in his second novel. Once again combining international conspiracy with a bluntly honest story of survival against a relentless enemy, Blake gives the reader a book that is hard to put down. His characters are finely developed and described, to the point of near perfection. I could thoroughly envision all of them, and grew to empathize or hate them. Albert Ross, State Department diplomat, is one of the best characters I’ve read in many years. Despicable, and barely redeemable, he continues to charm the reader to the very end. I laughed out loud on several occasions at his character’s thoughts and actions.

I highly recommend this fast paced thriller to anyone with two straight days to read.


  1. Russell Blake (@BlakeBooks) says:

    Thanks so much for the kind words. As a writer yourself, you know how much goes into every word, every character, every decision they make, every action they take. I enjoyed writing Al more than any character yet, for his sheer deplorable foulness. And yet he’s like a fungus. He grows on you. He’s flawed, and vividly real, warts and all. I’m glad you enjoyed the read. It’s actually the reader’s reaction, along with aspirations for big sacks of money, that keeps me wanting to write. But honestly, mainly the reactions. If you can reach someone, especially someone skilled at storytelling themselves, the satisfaction is worth all the toil. Your review is much appreciated. Gracias.

    • Steven Konkoly says:

      Al is the modern day version of The Ugly American, with fast food restaurants and cheap liquor at his command. Just one of the funniest, most deplorably sympathetic (if that makes sense) characters I’ve ever read. “Burro Dong.” Gems like that still have me laughing. Oddly enough, I cut a flashback scene from The Jakarta Pandemic that used that exact term, in a less politically correct fashion. I’m ecstatic that someone had the cajones to put it in their book, in the funniest way possible.

      On a serious note, Russell’s books are fantastic page turners, filled with deep character development and well structured plots. Blake is right about other writers being picky. I download numerous samples from other new authors, and rarely make promises to read the book in its entirety. If I did, I’d be sentencing myself to a punishment worthy of Dante’s Inferno. Finding Russell Blake’s books has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me as a new author…another writer worth his salt, and more.

  2. Writeintoprint (@ukeditor) says:

    D’accord… An industry friend asked me to evaluate the first draft of this story – apparently I’m considered ‘off the beaten track’ (compliment?). Could the formula work? after all it broke the rules set by the style police in spades etc etc. It did work. In spades. And that’s why I’m tipping this author (stalking even, negotiation-wise) to charm and enchant his readership with his future storytelling. I rest my face…

  3. Bernie says:

    I’m halfway through The Geronimo Beach and it’s truly enjoyable. Ok, the wake up scene with Al at the beginning was a true gross out but kind of funny nonetheless. Happy to have been tipped off to this book and author. I think it has a bit of an Elmore Leonard flare in that the characters are awful and attractive at the same time and that the story keeps on moving. Back to the Kindle.

    • Steven Konkoly says:

      The hangover scene is pretty intense, but it defines Al’s character. I’m glad your enjoying the Geronimo. Russell’s books have been a pleasure to read, and the author himself is a riot. Check out his blog if you get a chance.

  4. Bernie says:

    Actually, the typing police are pounding on my door right now. The Geronimo “Beach” instead of Breach, flare for flair. Somedays it’s just hopeless. Hope your fingers are flying over the keyboard and finishing that next book.

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