Deadlock (A John Hutchinson Novel) starts a little slow. It says "A John Hutchinson Novel," but really it's a sequel (to the first J.H. novel, Deadfall,) and it reads like one - the characters are dropped into the action with little or no development, and I spent the first 60 pages trying to figure out just who they were, exactly, and why they all knew each other already.
After that was all cleared up - the exposition was a tad dull - Liparulo wastes not a page more, but swings into action that doesn't let up for the next 250 pages. Weapons and tech are introduced in loving detail; there are constant references, overt and implicit, to video games; and the whole thing takes on a sort of near-future techno-sheen that hovers just on the edge of implausibility.
Hutchinson himself is a bit two-dimensional; the character can be summed up in a sentence. He's a rogue crossbow-toting journalist, a rugged individualist with a heart of gold, a will of steel, and an obsession that's getting in the way of his relationship with his loved ones. But compared to him, everyone else in the story is strictly linear: Brendan Page, the arch-villain, is about as complicated as a brick. He makes Auric Goldfinger look nuanced. Their inevitable collision at the end, however, is satisfying and contains a few unexpected twists; it's just the kind of thing you'd want to be reading in the shade of the cabana, a fruity drink near to hand.
If I had a complaint, it'd be that despite pretending to be a critique of video game violence, the book's plot is actually a pastiche of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, mashed up with a liberal helping of Deus Ex. Those are two of my favorite games and I don't really hold it against the author. But I'm not sure how much this book holds to offer to people who aren't at least a little bit enmeshed in the culture of the first-person shooter.
In sum: 4 stars, as a near-mindless action-adventure romp. If you're looking for anything else, subtract a star or two.