Vindicta by Bret Lambert

Vindicta

From the "For the Innocent" series, volume 2
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KIRKUS REVIEW

An anti-terrorist organization leaps into action when its nemesis kidnaps the president of the United States in this sequel.

Abraham Lincoln is credited with the maxim “People who like this sort of thing will find this to be the sort of thing they like.” This may sound like faint praise, but readers of the first InterOps adventure should totally get it. In this second installment, Lambert (For the Innocent, 2014) has amped up the action set pieces, the body count, and the page count (it’s more than twice as long as its predecessor). InterOps is an elite, covert anti-terrorist squad. In a cold opening akin to the prologues in James Bond films, two ex–Drug Enforcement Administration agents, now “freelance exterminators,” take violent revenge against associates of a drug cartel responsible for slaughtering the family of one of the partners. With that nasty bit of score-settling concluded, Lambert gets down to business: Alexander Shaitan is the globe’s deadliest terrorist, and his “evil shadow would again darken the world’s horizon.” While InterOps did “irreparable damage” to Shaitan’s International Organization for Terrorist Aggression, that operation just made him mad. In a daring raid on an airborne Air Force One, he kidnaps the commander in chief and slaughters everyone else on board (save the media), including, shockingly, the first lady. In exchange for the president, he demands that InterOps leader Erik Rächer be brought to him. Delta Force team leader Arturo Castillo is charged with finding Rächer, who is initially not keen on the swap. He has a change of heart when Shaitan kidnaps his daughter. Lambert is still not a deft writer: “It was the kind of moon reputed to cause an imbalance in some people. As if to prove that theory, there were more imbalanced people out on the loose than usual.” The author’s tough-guy banter, too, is rife with B-movie clichés. When one of the ex–DEA agents orders a drug criminal’s house to be set afire, his partner replies, “I do love a good cookout.” But gun fetishists should appreciate Lambert’s prodigious product placement, from a “Desert Eagle .50AE semiautomatic pistol with its six-inch barrel” to the “Belgian-made Fabrique Nationale FNC 5.56 mm rifle.” This InterOps thriller turns out to be a guilty pleasure.

Diverting escapist entertainment about a valuable hostage that sets up the last installment of a trilogy.

Publisher: Manuscript
Program: Kirkus Indie
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