Are terrorists making a statement by killing heroes, or is the motive more personal?
While former Army Ranger Charlie Henry and his girlfriend, Ruth, are attending a dedication for a new public park in Albuquerque, someone opens fire. Charlie, "a modern Navajo" who’s not comfortable being labeled a hero—"he knew that showing pride and immodesty was contrary to the Navajo Way of his ancestors"—promptly jumps into action. Even so, several people are injured and one killed. The incident is blamed on terrorism, but Charlie and Gordon Sweeney, his partner in FOB Pawn (Rob Thy Neighbor, 2016, etc.), find more reason to take a closer look because Charlie may have been the target. Meanwhile, Dawud Koury, a Christian Arab who risked his life serving as their interpreter in Afghanistan, is being harassed, and he and his family sorely need help. To top it off, Ruth, who’s been in the witness protection program, has to worry about the abusive, dangerous ex-husband who’s escaped from prison. The duo work with their friends in the local police force and get some help from a former CIA contact who’s using his vacation time to watch over Charlie. Since Nathan Whitaker, the chopper pilot who was the only park fatality, ran a company dedicated to helping vets find jobs, Charlie and Gordon look into the possibility that one of the company’s clients, some of whom suffer from PTSD, might have wanted him dead. Another suspect is the estranged husband of Whitaker’s girlfriend, a man with a bad attitude and a hair-trigger temper. Several other attacks on Charlie and notes claiming the Islamic State group is responsible have the FBI and Homeland Security looking even harder for terrorists, but Charlie’s far from convinced. The story will heat up with car chases and bullets flying before the truth comes out.
Not much mystery, but plenty of action and local color make this installment more fun than most thrillers ripped from the headlines.