Jones’ (Rusted Rails, 2013, etc.) fourth book is divided into three parts, two that overlap during 1999 and a third seven years later. In Argentina, Camila Sanchez, the widow of a policeman, must recycle garbage to support her son and ailing mother. When she discovers a document labeled “Wild Ferret,” she regards it as a treasure, albeit a dangerous one. The CIA plans to infiltrate Argentine communications, which it believes are aiding the ruthless Mexican Gulf drug cartel. After weighing her options, she decides that the least risky alternative is to deal with the Argentines. Through computer hacking, the U.S. and Argentina play each other. Eduardo Rodriguez, a young American computer genius, finds the Argentine system doesn’t work and has to fix it in order to infiltrate it. Meanwhile, armed with Sanchez’s intelligence, the Argentines feed misinformation to the Americans. The action heats up when a rogue Argentine cop tries to hunt down Sanchez and the cartel learns of the communications breach. In Part 2, the cartel foists Rosario 5, an aphrodisiac, on the market, while the Argentines use it to influence a U.S. presidential election. Rodriguez returns in Part 3, teaming up with beautiful Argentine agent Elina Cristina Aguilar. Together, they run down Rosario factories and scare up romance and an action-packed ending. Well-written and easy to read, Jones’ thriller helpfully includes character lists and maps of key settings. Actually, there might be too much extraneous information intruding on the fictive reality: “Note to Readers: The story branches out at this point” and “It was as if the cartel had possessed prior knowledge of the raids….In actuality, they did have prior knowledge.” Such intrusions tell readers things they already know or soon will rather than allowing the story to tell itself, which it otherwise does quite well.
Despite too much hand-holding, a fast-paced thriller and great read for fans of espionage, international intrigue and political maneuvering.