Wednesday 1 July 2020

Book Review: The Linebacker by Gregory S.T. Charlton

Last Updated: 18 October 2021

The Linebacker by Gregory S.T. Charlton book cover

AD* | The Linebacker is an action-packed modern-day thriller with real heroes and even more real villains. As a star NFL linebacker, Mike Johnson seems to have it all: money, fame, friends, and great teammates. But when he gets a concussion and is forced to sit out the last few games of the season, his life begins to change in ways he never would have expected. His doctor, a beautiful neurologist specializing in head and neck trauma, becomes not only his doctor but a new love in his life. 

The romance is interrupted, however, when Mike’s team is bombed on their way to the final game of the season in London, England. The authorities are seemingly locked in red tape, and the hunt for the “perps” drags on. The linebacker flies to London and decides to pursue the criminals and terrorists behind the tragedy. He soon discovers that there is a lot more evil in the world than he ever realized. 

Is he in over his head? Will he be able to find the people who did this? Will he even make it back home to Kate? Mike is determined evil will not win this one. They will be brought to justice if it’s the last thing he does.

Fast-paced and full of action, The Linebacker certainly lives up to its tagline of being an 'absolute action thriller'. Beyond the breakneck storyline and nail-biting action scenes, though, poor storytelling and lacklustre characters sadly let this book down. 

The main character, Mike, is a star linebacker who goes from professional NFL player to Don Juan to revenge-fueled vigilante to a seasoned military pro throughout the timeline of this one book. Of course, character development is important and should be encouraged in fiction, but on this scale, it's off the charts and just leaves the reader with whiplash. 

So much content is packed into this one book that it feels as though the author needed to split the story down into multiple volumes. That way, the story could be given full attention and many of the plot holes and loose ends currently unexplored in The Linebacker would most likely be resolved. This is a shame, as the premise of the book is quite interesting - not least as a British NFL fan who regularly attends the London International Series games

With so much action packed into the storyline, it's hard to get a proper feel for the characters, too. Aside from Mike, none of the other supporting characters are really explored fully. This results in a cast of two-dimensional characters, some questionable and unexplained decisions at key plot points, and a lack of readers' empathy for their situations. 

The Linebacker should have been a story I loved, but unfortunately, it just had too many problems for me to overlook and enjoy the book. 

Rating: 2 stars

The Linebacker is available to buy now.

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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Will you be reading the book? Let me know in the comments below! 

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