Marine Corps gunner Kyle Swanson saves the world from yet another band of terrorists.
In the eighth volume of retired Marine sniper Coughlin and Davis' series (On Scope, 2014, etc.), Swanson gets a new piece of back story: during the 1990s, he served in a military hospital in Somalia, where he found love with an Irish nurse. Just as she accepted his marriage proposal, she was killed in a raid by Somalian warlord Omar Jama, alias the Cobra, whom Swanson captured and sent to prison. For reasons that are never explained, the Cobra walks free 20 years later, still seething with hatred for America in general and Swanson in particular. Now leading his own group of terrorists, the Cobra turns up in Minneapolis and carries out the deadliest attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, killing 500 civilians in a shopping-mall bombing. Kyle has to chase his quarry back to Somalia and revisit the scene of the original attack, but there’s no suspense about the outcome. Previous volumes of the Swanson series gave the hero some moral ambiguity and made him more three-dimensional, but that’s not the case here, as the story is drawn in stark black and white. The good guys stand tall and are invariably football fans; the bad guys say things like “I intend to put ‘terror’ back into the word ‘terrorism.’ ”
Much like Swanson’s dispatch of the Cobra, the book’s execution is precise and well-practiced, and a bit too routine.