Jim Chapel, the one-armed special ops soldier, is back in Wellington’s latest action-packed novel.
Chapel, who sports a high-tech prosthetic left arm to replace the one he lost, is talking to Angel, the anonymous sexy voice behind the computer-driven world of military intelligence, when she suddenly goes silent and dark. Summoned from a stakeout with Brent Wilkes, a taciturn special ops Marine, Chapel and his boss, Hollingshed, attend a briefing about some recent attacks. Once there, Chapel discovers someone’s detonated a dirty bomb at the New Orleans port, and the powers that be think Angel’s behind it. Chapel’s never met Angel, but she’s helped him through countless crises, and he believes she’s innocent. When his boss covertly urges him to find and save her, Chapel is nearly killed by an explosion that destroys the trailer where Angel lives and works. The National Security Agency, under a woman named Holman, has dispatched Wilkes to find and kill Chapel while hunting down Angel. In the meantime, Chapel and Angel end up on the run with Julia, a veterinarian who is also Chapel’s former girlfriend. While the trio try to prevent another cataclysmic event, they must dodge men who want to kill them in order to further their own agendas. Readers who were introduced to Chapel in Chimera( 2013) will be hard-pressed to see much difference between the two stories: both have vast evil government conspiracies; in both, Chapel is running for his life with Julia and is a magnet for bullets; and both feature many of the same characters as well as similar events. Reading like it was written to hit a deadline, the plot is unabashedly derivative. Sharp-eyed readers may also entertain themselves by finding the inconsistencies in this story, but not many will consider reading the same-old, same-old much of a pleasure.
Unremarkable action-adventure that falls on the side of predictability.