The third installment in Dugan’s (Irrevocable Resolution, 2016, etc.) series finds CIA operative Capt. Alan Joubert facing off against a corrupt, U.S.-funded military unit.
After narrowly surviving his last assignment, Alan has a new CIA handler in the Absolute Resolution program. Taking out cocaine labs and ammunition-stocked warehouses has made him a target in Central and South America, where he typically works, so the agency plans on shifting him to the Middle East and Asia Pacific. But first, he must take out leaders of the Contras in Costa Rica, a military unit financed by the U.S. government. These leaders are reportedly working with a drug cartel and committing war crimes in Nicaragua; soon, Alan is shocked when he witnesses Contra troopers savagely attacking villagers. After he completes his mission, he’s still uncertain that he eliminated the corruption entirely, so, with a few friends, he returns to Costa Rica with CIA support. It soon becomes clear that someone has information about his team, leading to startling deaths and a direct assault against Alan himself. Like earlier installments, Dugan’s novel is episodic (with an unrelated Taipei mission), but it’s primarily concentrated on the Contras. Alan and his cohorts—Rene, Fast Eddie, and Wild Bill, all of whom he’s known since Vietnam—are efficient and disciplined during operations, and the author meticulously details their gear and aspects of their stealth procedures, such as their use of hand signals. Lynn, Alan’s partner in Taipei, is the series’ strongest female character yet—a proficient Chinese-American agent who speaks Mandarin, Cantonese, and Korean. Dugan wisely caters to new readers by offering background info on returning characters, although the story’s 1980s setting won’t be immediately apparent until the appearance of antiquated technology, such as pagers and a cassette player. The ending leaves open the possibility of a sequel, but there’s enough closure to end the series as a trilogy.
An action-packed thriller featuring sturdy characters.