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THE UNSANCTIONED by Michael Lamke

THE UNSANCTIONED

By Michael Lamke

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0984598519
Publisher: Knightime Publishing

The words of Internet bloggers are viable weapons, and a former Army captain is enlisted to help a team deter anti-American propaganda in Lamke’s debut novel.

 

Lane Evans, an aide to the ambassador in Thailand, is assigned the task of identifying a blogger who’s posting views critical of the United States’ post-tsunami presence in the country. His success is noted by retired Col. Tom Lewis, whose secret organization targets online activity to subvert potential terrorism in the U.S. Lane, however, questions the consequences for the bloggers after they have been detected, and as he keeps a close eye on Lewis, he soon realizes that he is also being watched. A character initially dubbed “the stranger” is a killer whose identity and purpose are revealed within the novel’s first half, such that the story deftly retains suspense by Lane being fully aware, or at least suspecting, the source of transgression. Tension is equally maintained by characters’ motivations remaining unclear and trust playing a crucial role. Unfortunately, Lane is contradictory, sometimes displaying qualities one might not associate with an Army captain who’s led troops in combat. He’s seemingly anxious around the ambassador and a CIA analyst, Eve, with whom he’s enamored (despite having a girlfriend, Ana). Likewise, Lane has altering opinions of what should be done to people responsible for anti-American blogs, an indecisiveness that carries over to his relationships with Eve and Ana as well. The novel is bolstered by well-established supporting characters: Eve and Ana, both possessing with familial backgrounds that add more depth to their characters, and also one of the men duped into helping with the villains’ treacherous deeds, who ultimately changes sides.

 

 

Though the protagonist is unremarkable, the characters that surround him are sturdy components of a satisfying, impressive first novel.