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An Enjoyable Read, But Not Anything Special
on June 18, 2014
I assume the military training session in the opening (Chapter 2) was supposed to remind us who Dave Riley was, but it had nothing to do with the main plot. That section could've been cut down by at least fifty-percent, maybe more, and nothing would've been lost.
I couldn't help but laugh at the glitch in storytelling that took place on page 30 of the Kindle version. She (Jill Fastone) pulled the silenced pistol out of her purse and aimed it squarely at his (Philip Cobb) chest. "You first and then your wife when she gets back." But only two paragraphs later, Jill Fastone tells Philip Cobb that he first needs to tell her where the money is before she kills him. Trying to get information from someone after you've already told them you're going to kill them would seem to me to be highly counterproductive. Maybe the writer just wanted to show how stupid Jill Fastone was. Unfortunately, the scene played out in a different direction before I was able to see if Philip Cobb was as stupid as Jill Fastone.
The story moved along at a very nice pace, with interesting twists and turns, until about two thirds of the way through the novel, and then the pace slowed dramatically. There was a lot of time and words (many chapters) spent getting both the protagonists and the antagonists from multiple Point A's to a singular Point B in the Smoky Mountains. At times it read like a travelogue. I didn't think it added anything to the story, and thus a whole chunk of the book was very disappointing to me.
The final action scenes between the good guys and the bad guys were fun to follow and they were enjoyably exciting. I thought those final action scenes were the best in the whole story.
However, the ending was a huge disappointment. All of these unanswered questions and all of the intrigue that had been built up in the first 90% of the story gets quickly figured out by a character who doesn't even appear in the story until the very, very end. Granted, this character (Colonel Pike) had been introduced in previous novels in the Green Beret series, but in this one he comes out of nowhere at the very end to figure it all out. I, for one, felt cheated. It felt very contrived because based on the relationship between these two men (known from previous novels), Dave Riley would've contacted Colonel Pike in the beginning of the story, when things started to get really weird... and not at the very end. Like I said, introducing Colonel Pike at the very end felt contrived.
But if you don't dwell too long on the shortcomings of the plot twists and ending manipulations, then you should enjoy it for the most part. It's a good beach read, but the plot could've been thought through a lot better, and the travelogue could've been replaced with mystery solution and made the whole story a lot more interesting and satisfying.