Kring’s (Bad Moon Rising, 2016, etc.) intrepid Border Patrol agent Hunter Kincaid is back for her fifth adventure on the Tex-Mex border—this time, fighting drug lords and swarms of deadly drones.
Outside the village of Las Vibras in southwest Texas, Hunter and her partner, Gary, are following a set of footprints from the Rio Grande when Hunter spots the body of a man lying facedown, his shirt and head punctured by bullet holes. The shooting appears to have been at close range, but there’s no sign of anyone else having been nearby. It turns out that he was shot by a gun mounted on a small drone. The wealthy Lincoln Jones, who’s a former Marine and CIA agent and a current presidential adviser, soon arrives at the murder scene with his second-in-command, Ashton Dean. The dead man is Jones’ stepson, Cory, who was also a CIA agent; he and his partner, Art Gonzales, had been in Mexico tracking a drug ring that uses drones to drop its deliveries across the U.S. border. Now Jones wants Hunter to find the man who killed Cory. This means secretly crossing the Rio Grande to spy on drug kingpin Pasqual Osorio, who may be in league with a Japanese sarin-gas expert. Hunter and Art team up for the reconnaissance mission, while Ashton functions as coordinator. The novel’s action begins on the very first page and the pace never slackens as it moves back and forth across the Rio Grande and through rocky, prickly terrain in Mexico and southeast Texas. Kring populates the novel with a wonderful supporting cast, including three charming teenage boys—David, Lonny, and Carlos—who teach Hunter how to operate a drone and provide some pleasant moments in the midst of brutal killings, chaos, and a betrayal. (Once, however, Kring mistakenly identifies one of boys as “Oscar.”) Overall, the prose, if not elegant, is serviceable, efficiently maintaining the story’s momentum on every page.
A satisfying crime novel with a strong female lead who can outshoot the best of them.