Mann, a former Navy SEAL, and Pezzullo (SEAL Team Six: Hunt the Fox, 2015, etc.) send their fictional SEAL, Chief Warrant Officer Thomas Crocker, to a North Korean island to pull the pin on Kim Jong-Un’s nuclear plans.
This time the authors gives nuance and depth to Crocker’s character, offering back story on how his wife, Holly, couldn’t tolerate SEAL life and left, his angst over his daughter's growing independence, and his father’s fragile health. The action begins with Crocker seconded to the Secret Service to help in a counterfeit case. North Korea’s "Office 39" employs "optical variable inks" to print U.S. currency, adding another way besides illicit drugs and arms trading to shore up their economy. That means a quick sojourn to Las Vegas, where beaucoup funny money is appearing. There, Crocker serendipitously meets a possible new love interest, dancer and single mom Cyndi. Then Crocker and his Black Cell teammates (otherwise mostly behind the scenes in this story) saddle up to intercept a North Korean freighter carrying counterfeit bills. Most of the team stays stateside as Crocker makes a foray along China’s North Korean border. With that, the pace turns electric, as Crocker rides aircraft carriers, helicopters, and even a SEAL Delivery Vehicle, a minisubmarine, to the Pansong Archipelago. It’s vital to rescue Jim Dawkins, an American engineer kidnapped in Switzerland to work on North Korea’s "missile guidance set control." As usual, the narrative is filled with acronyms and weapon and product references, but the conclusion is satisfying, with Crocker going entertainingly superhuman.
Formulaic, but for the Tom Clancy/Dale Brown genre fan, Mann and Pezzullo provide enough excitement to while away a weekend.