In Montgomery’s debut action-thriller, a police force must upgrade its drone aircraft after criminals arm their own drug-delivery vehicles.
The Oasis is a low-income housing development that’s indisputably the most dangerous part of an unnamed city. Even the cops steer clear of it, as its residents have pummeled police vehicles with bricks and rocks in the past. Instead, the Police Drone Squadron patrols the area by air. Its primary target is The Baron, a drug lord who’s using his own drones to supply addicts with “crunch,” a “super-potent amphetamine.” Surveillance is the squadron’s main objective, and it’s supervised by Senior Sgt. Tom Margaret. But Under-Constable Grigor Ferris takes the initiative by adding a Taser to a drone and taking down one of the Baron’s aircraft with it. Soon, however, the drug drones are equipped with guns. The result is so disastrous that Chief Inverell grounds the PDS, but Margaret is undaunted. Against orders, he weaponizes PDS aircraft and further recruits skilled drone photographer James Wynyard. The sergeant spearheads an unsanctioned operation that he hopes will dismantle The Baron’s crunch lab once and for all. Montgomery’s copious scenes of drone action give his novel a brisk pace. That said, the effect is sometimes akin to watching someone else play a video game; even Ferris and Wynyard get the understandable urge to take the controls, rather than merely observe someone else piloting a drone. Still, readers will find themselves fully engaged with the narrative, even if the book’s brevity doesn’t allow for much character development. Interestingly, the Baron initially gets the brightest spotlight; the handsome, charismatic man is shown to be quite popular among the public. The author further brightens the story with a keen sense of humor, as when he notes that drone fights are sure to end up on YouTube.
An energetic, entertaining tale.