It’s McGarvey vs. al-Qaeda when thrillermeister Hagberg cranks out the old formula for the 33rd time (Soldier of God, 2005, etc.).
Is Kirk McGarvey—“the best field officer the CIA has ever had”—permanently on the shelf? Could it really be true he intends to take that post “teaching Voltaire” at the New School? Though it’s hard to believe, that’s what he’s been saying. But suddenly, U.S. President Laurence Haynes and his inner circle are confronted with the kind of geopolitical nightmare to which there is only one viable response: Send for our killing machine. So they do, and though Katy, McGarvey’s cute, long-suffering wife, does what she can to bar the door, the old warhorse, now 50, is off and running. This time out, Osama bin Laden’s doomsday operation is called The Serpent’s Tooth, and it has to do with smart nuclear submarines sneaking by U.S. security and getting close enough to launch terrible things at the vulnerable mainland. Aiding bin Laden in this darksome venture is a disaffected ex-British naval officer, the brilliant and unscrupulous Rupert Graham, who is adept enough at murder that he can single-handedly wipe out an entire 15-person ship’s crew in the time it takes to say pistol-fitted-with-a-silencer. Enough, the president’s men inform each other: Bin Laden and his homicidal henchman have had it their way too long; get McGarvey saddled up. And so the stage is set—their killing machine against ours—while Western civilization bites its nails.
Pretty tired stuff. Maybe it’s time for McGarvey to try out that new career.