In his second in the series, Mann (SEAL Team Six: Hunt the Wolf, 2012) rips another Thomas Crocker kill-the-bad-guys action adventure straight from the headlines.
Chief Warrant Officer Tom Crocker is a multimission veteran in the war against terror. He has the battle discipline to stand down from a chance to kill a terrorist in Yemen when desk-jockeys send word down the satellite link. It seems Crocker’s assault team—Calvin, stoic sniper; Mancini, intellectual weapons specialist; Ritchie, explosives handler; Akil, Egyptian-American logistics expert; California-surfer-look-alike Davis, communications—is needed for a rapid response to an assault on the MSC Contessa, pirated off Somali. Helicopter insertion, Zodiac assault and dead pirates result. However, in the firefight, Crocker discovers the pirates are commanded by Iranian Revolutionary Corps Col. Farhed Alizadeh, and the hijack is an attempt to purloin yellow cake uranium, vital in nuclear weapon construction. The colonel’s trail leads to chaotic Libya, the oil-rich nation recovering from dictator Gadhafi’s overthrow. Mann, the SEAL veteran author, detours between pirate-killing and Libya to send Team Crocker to compete in a Moroccan ultraendurance marathon, mainly to stress SEAL physical fitness and list a litany of special ops outdoor products ranging from Adidas to Suunto watches. That expertise gibes with Mann's tactics and weapons know-how factoids sprinkled throughout the narrative, giving the story ring-true authority. Nevertheless, pace and intensity are cinematic, nonstop and superhuman compared to the reported real-life exploits of special operations troops. Sent undercover as an engineering team but assigned to find clues to the smuggling of nuclear material from anarchic Libya to terror-sponsoring Iran, Crocker and team deal with CIA obfuscation and NATO dithering. The mission goes to hell in a handbasket after Crocker learns that his wife, Holly, a State Department official, has been kidnapped by Gadhafi-loyalist Tuareg nomads apparently aligned with the nasty colonel. Add multiple shootouts, the notorious Pharm 150 site, secreted mustard blister agents and sarin nerve gases, ampules of uranium hexaflouride, the hijacking of an ancient 727-200, and there’s sufficient tension to keep the pages turning.
All action, all the time.