The Bottom Line: A rousing blend of fast-paced spycraft, believable military action and geopolitical intrigue.
Two separate terrorist attacks rock small town America, killing sixteen and wounding thirty. No one claims responsibility, and there are no demands. In analyzing shrapnel from the second attack, forensic experts at the FBI lab in Quantico discover a terrifying detail: the payload was chemical, and linked to a bomblet capable of deploying the nerve agent Sarin.
Arms dealer Maxim Korshkin sends an envelope to the CIA Station Chief in the U.K., explaining that he has been approached by a buyer seeking Sarin. In exchange for the identity of the suspect, he demands safe passage from Britain. In a delicious bit of old-school spy flair, he ends his letter as follows: “Signal your acceptance by placing a wine bottle in the window of your flat (yes, I know where you live).”
Meanwhile, CIA analysts speculate that Syria, in cooperation with Iran, may have been shipping nerve gas to fighters in Yemen.
Author D.J. Scott, a retired Navy Medical Officer and Iraq veteran, has created a high-stakes geopolitical puzzle with interconnected storylines on at least four continents. In the tradition of classic military and espionage thrillers, those tasked with solving it include the American President and select members of his cabinet and intelligence agencies. But once things get rolling, the story belongs to decorated Navy medical officer Mike McGregor and Marine Captain Kelli Moore. Kelli and Mike – whose past heroics involved recovering stolen nuclear warheads – are called to serve on an undercover mission to stop the aforementioned global threat, at which point they’re embroiled in an altercation with a hotheaded Homeland Security agent. Readers are highly advised to read Scott’s first series book, Short Season, to make better sense of the interpersonal dynamics at play as well as frequent references to their backstories.
Scott excels when it comes to the details of military hardware and operations, providing just enough detail to achieve believability while never slowing things down. Speaking of which, the book’s pacing is simply superb. Scott’s clear date-by-date chapter notes and crisp dialogue make for edge-of-your-seat reading.
Recommended for fans of Jack Carr and Ken Follett.