In Lawrence’s (Lost in Arabia, 2017, etc.) thriller, an international arms dealer and CIA asset searches for the person who’s trying to frame him for terrorist activity.
Pat Walsh’s company, Trident, is a CIA subcontractor that supplies military goods, including weapons and ammunition, to American-allied forces. When the U.S. government suspends his contract and freezes his assets, he knows that something is very wrong, so he quickly goes into hiding and drops off the grid with his girlfriend, Diane, in tow. He contacts his friend, CIA agent Mike Guthrie, and finds out that the Joint Terrorism Task Force has issued an arrest order against him, due to a fatal ISIS bombing in Belgium that apparently used a Trident explosive. However, there’s no other evidence linking Trident to terrorists, and Pat thinks that someone, for some reason, is plotting to shut his company down. Meanwhile, readers know that a man named Michael Genovese is spearheading the frame-up. The mob-tied CEO of defense firm G3 views Pat as a threat to his illicit plan to “keep America strong” by pitting the country’s enemies against one another. Pat, armed with various weapons, surveillance equipment, and his Trident team, manages to track down the people targeting him. It’s soon clear, however, that someone else is giving intel to the bad guys—information that can only be coming from inside the CIA. Lawrence’s action-packed tale highlights a smashing hero/villain coupling. Both receive memorable introductions: Genovese is shown taking a seemingly innocuous jog, and Pat, surfing near his beach house. This laid-back setup makes later revelations about both characters all the more striking. The story has some elements of mystery (the CIA mole, for instance, isn’t immediately revealed), and the author makes sure that Pat remains a man of action throughout. Pat’s skills are both admirable and plausible; although a serious injury hardly slows him down, it still requires his attention. Unfortunately, though, none of the novel’s female characters has any real bearing on the plot—not even Diane, Pat’s ostensible “soulmate.”
A brisk, often entertaining story with a tough protagonist.