In Jordan’s (Operation Hebron, 2000) thriller sequel, an ex-CIA agent, now an information technology billionaire, devises a cunning plan to disrupt both Iran’s burgeoning nuclear threat and the world drug trade.
Jordan’s first novel introduced the seductive and dangerous assassin Jackie Marcovic. Here, Jackie gets a new name—Erika Wolff—and an altered appearance, made possible by her new client, Rick Sterling, the president of a global IT cryptography firm. Rick has been running a shadow crusade against the global drug trade ever since a heroin dealer murdered his wife 10 years ago. Now, he needs Erika’s services to help take down targets in the Italian Mafia. (Why not, say, the Colombians? “Because the Mafia…still has long tentacles,” he says.) When Rick learns of a CIA plan to destabilize Iran—which protects a significant heroin-transport route—he decides to kill two birds with one stone, setting the Mafia against Iran and letting them take each other down. His plan, when set into action, is dangerous, clandestine and exciting. In many ways, this thriller is an Iron Man–like fantasy of the good that wealth, power and smarts can accomplish. It’s also spiced up with sex and expensive high-tech toys, such as Rick’s nuclear-powered yacht, with “the latest in sea and space navigation, intercept technology, and satellite communications with considerable cyber war capabilities”; aboard, one can “catch a satellite movie…or work out in a state-of-the-art gym, go island-hopping on a Fountain speedboat…or even board a helicopter or small jet seaplane with folding wings for a little sightseeing.” Readers may find the story’s slickness a bit cheesy at times, with its referencing of brand names, such as Armani, and its recurring focus on (mostly female) pulchritude. They may also feel the neatness of the plot’s conclusion somewhat unlikely. However, the author’s high-level background in intelligence brings an air of realism to this novel and grounds it in satisfying details.
An engaging technological thriller.