The CIA knows something spooky is happening, perhaps involving Iran’s rogue government. Into Uganda goes a special-ops team. Out comes one man alive. President Sam Adams Castilla understands the intelligence bureaucracy usually generates assessments suiting its own agenda. Castilla calls on Covert-One, a blacker-than-black operations group overseen by his longtime friend and trusted confidante, Fred Klein. Klein has a man he trusts too, Col. Jon Smith, an army microbiologist and veteran of several hazardous Covert-One missions. The video of the Uganda fight that wiped out the special ops team shows unarmed men, women and children running into gunfire and killing the armed men barehanded. There’s speculation Bahame is fueling his followers with narcotics and witchcraft, but Smith’s research soon says otherwise. The action moves from Washington to California, where Smith drafts ex-SAS commando Peter Howell for a clandestine foray to Uganda. Enroute, the pair stop in South Africa to meet Dr. Sarie van Keuren, world-renowned parasite expert. She decides to tag along. Meanwhile the Ayatollah Khamenei lurks in Tehran, half-believing that his trusted underling Mehrak Omidi has discovered a practicable biological weapon in the hands of the infidel Baheme. After firefights, diversions and an unlucky cave exploration, Smith and company end up captured and imprisoned at Baheme’s camp. There Omidi is present for a demonstration of the bio-weapon. Characters are formulaic and Covert-One familiar. Action moves through brief, dialogue-heavy chapters and unravels a serviceable plot, right down to Sarie’s capture and transport to an underground Iranian bio-weapons facility. There Omidi attempts to coerce her into weaponizing a thing best left untouched until Smith, Howell and an Iranian rebel force battle their way to the lab and beyond.
Nothing fancy here, but plenty of comfort food for those with an appetite for the thriller genre.