The hellish bombing of a Kurdish city lights the fuse on a taut, foreboding espionage caper involving mobile nukes, a crazy cleric and vulnerable people in Mulkerin’s debut novel.
Declan Sullivan is the sort of intrepid, uber-competent adventurer who would probably go nuts if he wasn’t fighting to save the world in some small way. But the former Green Beret is barely keeping his head above water as he desperately tries to save his small band of comrades from the clutches of cruel enemies who shunt human beings—and potential weapons of mass destruction—around like chess pieces. Sullivan’s prior experiences in the Middle East collide with his present-day quest to liberate his friends from an ancient Turkish prison. Old colleagues are suspect, and he’s having a devil of a time thwarting the fiendishly clever Ayatollah Kashami and his elaborate machinations. In Declan’s world, the powerful have eyes everywhere, and appearances consistently deceive. Despite the expansiveness of the international locale, the harrowing odyssey feels specific and immediate, as does the finely rendered cast. The relentless pace never slows, and Sullivan and company’s frequent traumas amplify the tension. This sense of drama shows on every page, especially when Declan is struggling to rescue a friend: “He stretched until his shoulder was jammed into the crevice. At the fullest extent of his reach, he felt her skin with his fingertips.” Mulkerin’s extensive real-world experience in both medicine and the military provides him with a font of technical knowledge, but in this harrowing geopolitical potboiler, his writing chops take the lead.
A triumphant alchemy of fact and fiction.