Private-equity partner and former Mitt Romney campaign manager Coes (Coup d’Etat, 2011, etc.) delivers his third installment featuring former Delta officer Dewey Andreas, this time involving a kidnapping and a nuclear crisis in the Middle East.
After the president of the United States unexpectedly succumbs to a stroke, Andreas’ friend, Israeli Special Forces commander (and Golda Meir’s great-grandson) Kohl Meir, is kidnapped by Iranians. With a cautious new president unwilling to get the U.S. government involved in an Iranian dispute, Andreas sets out on a dangerous mission to rescue Meir. Along the way, he finds out that the Iranian government has secretly and successfully built a nuclear bomb, and it’s up to him to keep it from being used against Israel. To that end, he enlists the help of ex-Special Ops experts and others to carry out a secret plan. Even for a lightweight action thriller, Coes presents an especially Manichaean and simplistic version of international politics here, with heroes and villains that rarely rise above the level of cartoonish caricature (one Iranian baddie is described as “a gorilla of a man” covered in body hair, with “meaty fingers” on his “meaty paws”). Coes’ distractingly clunky prose style (as when Meir “claw[s] his fingers like spider legs up the soldier’s neck”) doesn’t help matters, and readers will tire of the author’s habit of having his characters repeatedly “stare” at each other during conversations. His fondness for interrogation and torture scenes—and there are several—will also test readers’ endurance. The novel drags on and on, offering few surprises, as Coes takes a decent story idea and renders it mechanical and lifeless.
Pedestrian and predictable.