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ARMORED by Mark Greaney


by Mark Greaney

Pub Date: July 5th, 2022
ISBN: 978-0-593-43687-5
Publisher: Berkley

The title doesn’t say much. Greaney could accurately have called this military thriller Bloodbath: A Love Story.

Josh Duffy loses a leg doing mercenary work in Lebanon, so three years later he has sunk to being “the sheriff of Tysons Galleria” in Virginia, ashamed that he can’t fully provide for his wife, Nikki, and their two children. She’s an ex-Army captain and chopper pilot who’d been shot down in Iraq and rescued by—wait for it—Josh Duffy. True love and hard times follow; a nasty, failed protection detail in the Middle East leaves the protectee dead and Josh’s life forever changed. Now Nikki is a full-time mom running a small cleaning business to tide them over. Then Duffy has a seemingly chance encounter with another merc at the mall who expresses shock that “Duff from Jalalabad is a fucking mall cop!” The friend quickly sets him up with Armored Saint, which has a rep of being the worst private military contractor on the planet. “Armored Saint? Those guys are psychos,” says Duffy. “This gig is dog shit,” says his old pal, “but it pays through the roof” and will get Duffy out of his immediate financial straits. Desperate, he signs up for a three-week gig to lead one of three teams protecting a U.N. delegation that hopes to broker peace among warring cartels in Mexico’s Sierra Madre. It should be a straightforward mission and easy money. But even before they reach the treacherous ridge called the Devil’s Spine, guns start blazing and bodies start falling. Josh’s own team is a handful, questioning his leadership with smartass comments even before they learn about his prosthetic leg. Meanwhile, Josh and Nikki are often on the phone as he tries with increasing difficulty to reassure her that all is well. She wants him home safely, but at the rate things are going, he’ll come home in a box. How she shows her fierce love for her husband is both implausible and contrived, but it’s great fun for the reader.

Greaney dumps a ton of trouble on the hero, and there’s never a dull page.