Ex-Army Special Forces operator Michael Herne is called back into action when a young woman goes missing in Vinjamuri’s (Operator, 2012) second thriller.
No sooner has Herne returned home to deal with a family emergency than he is pulled into the middle of someone else’s. Alpha, Herne’s former commander in the elite group known as “the Activity,” calls in a favor: Heather Hernandez, a friend’s estranged daughter, has disappeared, leaving only a brief email asking for help. Herne needs to find out what happened to her and get her back. In the days before Hurricane Sandy makes landfall, Herne arrives in Hamlin, W.Va., with little to go on. He knows only that diabetic Heather emailed her parents that she was running out of insulin and that she was part of an environmental protest group whose members were recently waylaid and attacked by unknown assailants. But when Herne’s early questions are met with bullets and improvised explosives, it doesn’t take this operator-turned–intelligence analyst long to figure out that there’s a lot more going on than it seems—and many more lives than Heather’s on the line. Before the end, this missing person case has grown to involve the FBI, international terrorists and a devious group of well-organized white supremacists willing to use any means necessary to achieve their goals. Once more, Vinjamuri has gone all out in writing an impeccably researched thriller packed with both accurate details and exciting action sequences, all of it easy to imagine as a movie. A solid combination of tightly written scenes and Herne’s near-superhuman military skills makes this a book that’s hard to stop reading, especially as the layers of the plot emerge. That is, until the true plot is revealed (around 85 percent of the way in) and readers are left scratching their heads that so much effort has gone into so pedestrian a plan. Ultimately, the plot undermines its own climax and reveals the dumb actions of characters on both sides, resulting in an action-packed ending that lacks any trace of satisfying impact.
A thriller with a worthy hero and a plot that eventually works against him.