Jihadis. Oil rig. Typhoon. Connect the dots and you get this first novel from a TV writer and producer of the show 24.
Gideon Davis, troubleshooter extraordinaire for the president of the United States, has just mediated a ceasefire in the Colombian jungle. He barely has time to pick up a peace medal from his boss before he’s hustled off to his next assignment in the Sultanate of Mohan, a Muslim nation and American ally, located in the conveniently typhoon-prone South China Sea. Why the rush? Gideon’s older brother Tillman, taking the name Abu Nasir, has joined a now-beleaguered jihadi insurrection. He will turn himself in, but only to his brother. The Sultan has imposed a deadline; then he will have him killed. Gideon has 23 hours. Though they’ve been estranged for years (Gideon the dove, Tillman the hawk), he owes his brother, his childhood protector, and Earl Parker, the national security advisor who’d cared for the boys after their parents’ bloody demise. He must rendezvous with Tillman in a mountainous Mohanese village. Pursued by jihadis upriver, Gideon is forced into his first of many kills. Then two more surprises: Abu Nasir is actually on a billion-dollar oil rig, and he’s not his brother but a mercenary in cahoots with the perfidious Parker, threatening to explode the rig unless the Americans withdraw from Mohan. And oh yes, a typhoon is bearing down. All this, while painfully derivative, is not quite as silly as it sounds. Keeping the back story to a minimum, Gordon gives us a mad dance of bullets and deadlines, though they can’t disguise his failure to make a convincing mastermind out of Parker. Once on the rig, Gideon teams up with lovely rig manager Kate Murphy in an effort to defuse the bomb as the waves tower and the jihadis prowl. Two lonely overachievers. Hmm. Could there be a double bed in their future?
An action-packed story that would have worked better as a graphic novel.