There are a lot of militaryesque (yes, I made that word up) action thrillers out on the market. They range from pure pulp, literary Rambos, “read as one man wipes out a small nation of bad guys in between humping really hot women, in his quest for vengeance,” like Mack Bolan or the Destroyer series. Fun reads, but wildly implausible,
|I, Mack Bolan, must eliminate you,|
all the way to the novels of Brad Thor, Daniel Silva, or Vince Flynn. Again it is usually one man taking out a really bad guy, or eliminating major parts of an evil cabal.
J.T. Patten's book is a bit more like I am Pilgrim, by Terry Hayes as far a realism goes, but then Patten goes one step beyond with plausibility in both hiding his characters in the darkness and in their mission. Multiple cuts out are erected in all areas, paying Havens, his organization, their equipment, and their missions. This way if anything goes wrong, the bad guys don't get propaganda, or know who just screwed up their finely wrought plans, nor does Congress get a chance to “inadvertently” expose an organization during an inquiry. These details matter in real life and in great stories.
|Please explain what you planned to do with this Colonel Mustard|
It is a common romantic belief that if you eliminate the head bad guy, the nefarious activities of his organization will stop. It's a nice thought, but naïve. The world is not Harry Potter, where if you defeat Tom Riddle, the rest of the Death Eaters, say, “Oh well, guess I'll go back to being a shop keeper or something.”
|Evil League of Evil|
A transnational gang or a terrorist organization is like modern business, people are there to make money and/or support a cause they believe in via nefarious activities. If the leader dies, usually number two takes over, because the money and the perceived need for their over-arching mission is still there.
|I can run this organization!|
As an example, if the CEO of Disney were suddenly to die, Disney doesn't fall apart as a company; their amusement parks close and no more movies made, the rest of the board would just elect a new CEO, and they'd continue to provide a service that makes Disney employees money.
It is the same with drug dealers, round up an entire gang, and a new one will fill in the vacuum, because people are still buying drugs. So long as there is a need, someone will fill it.
What really sets Patten's book apart is the plethora of plausible details, the main character fights terrorists, not by eliminating them one by one, but by finding a way to eliminate a key person that causes the organization to turn on itself, or to set two organizations against each other, so they are fighting, and not busy making plans for their next terrorist operation. This is, in the real world, how you eliminate a network. Perhaps, not as sexy as “One man on a mission, with lots of bad guys dying at opportune moments,” but far more realistic and gripping. Havens is a thinking James Bond, he looks for the connections and weaknesses that will tear apart on an organization, executes his mission, and sits back with some popcorn as the bad guys eliminate themselves. Then there are the details, the little bits of trade-craft, the attitude of people, the smells in the souk, that flesh out and make real this story.
“Thinking James Bond,” is not a slur, Havens is no cube monkey studying org charts, he is a planner and a doer. That's how the book starts off, Havens is on mission in Yemen, and then things start to go wrong. Not with the mission itself, although there are some times he needs to improvise, but at home. Things have gone horribly off-kilter, and Havens has to find a way to fight through the self-recrimination, doubts, and manipulation of off-stage actors to avoid being lured into an even darker world where he is the patsy.
I will be waiting for the next book, and you should be reading Safe Havens now.
If you like action adventure, darkness, monsters and magic, perhaps you'd like to try my book Junior Inquisitor. Still just 2.99 with 30 five star reviews.
Amazon - http://goo.gl/D6KrbX
Smashwords - http://goo.gl/XsGgAC
Nook - http://goo.gl/MVLXia
Google Play - http://goo.gl/g2kNPa