A taut collection of adventures about a superelite strike force.
This sharp group of five stories centers on an elite American fighting unit, the Shadow Squadron. With members drawn from such rarefied groups as the Navy SEALs and Army Rangers, they are tasked with contending with the most outlandish terrorist acts, doing so with a minimum of casualties all around. Bowen infuses their heroics with a soupçon of internal tension and rivalry within the special-operations unit, but for the most part, he keeps the members of the team wholly committed to one another and their routinely mind-boggling missions. Each operation, in a nutshell, is like a short course in foreign relations, introducing readers to Somali pirates and submarines piloted by drug runners, but then running into more complex issues, such as when a Cuban oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, operated by the Chinese, is overrun by American mercenaries. As the men ready for their missions, there is almost a superhero aspect to the proceedings, but one look at the newspaper will make readers realize that such acts are happening even now in the real world. It’s breathtaking to the word, and Bowen brings readers there without hysterics but with a clipped language and smoky pungency that allows them to taste the events.
Top-drawer renderings of secret military missions around the globe, without jingoistic ballyhoo. (Adventure. 9-13)