After members of an Asian drug gang kill his parents, an Idaho rancher calls on his military training to get revenge.
Clay Bamford, 28, works on his parents’ Idaho ranch, which has been in the family since the 1850s. He says goodbye to his mother and father, who take off in their RV for a trip to Seattle. Once there, however, they are set upon and killed by members of the Asian drug gang run by Luong An Chie’n. When the Seattle police aren’t able to arrest the perps, Clay decides to take matters into his own hands. A former U.S. Army soldier who now does secret intelligence work for the government, he accesses the Seattle PD’s files and determines who is probably responsible for the murders. He travels to Seattle, uses a disguise to infiltrate the gang’s headquarters, then enacts a carefully thought-out plan to sow dissension among Luong’s ranks, setting gang member against gang member—activities that eventually bring him to the attention of the Seattle PD. All the while, he’s able to find the time to continue working on his family ranch, moonlight with his government hacking activities, and even romance a beautiful grad student, Jennie Mae Johansson. As a hero, Clay is a little too good to be true; he’s kind of like Lee Child’s Jack Reacher if Reacher had been raised on an Idaho ranch and was also a genius at breaking into computer networks. The fact that Clay is so resourceful mitigates all suspense, since the outcome of any villainous confrontation is never in doubt. The book is also awkwardly structured. In the last third, Clay’s vendetta against Luong and his Asian drug gang gives way to a lengthy depiction of his impending nuptials. Readers will wait for the other part to kick back in, but, sadly, it never does, leading to a limp ending.
The sturdy prose can defend against weak storytelling and characterizations.