The Devil's Handshake by Michael Reagan

The Devil's Handshake

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A former British Special Forces officer becomes a billionaire businessman and finds the corporate world and global politics just as bloodthirsty as the battlefield in Reagan’s debut thriller, the first in a proposed series.
Years after Sir Thomas Litchfield has left the Special Air Service, he’s built his own empire as owner of the TLH Group, a national resources company worth $60 billion. But it’s Thomas’ latest deal—with Adwalland, a new African country rich in natural resources—that has caught the attention of Russia, which hopes to re-establish itself as a military power by constructing a Naval base in Adwalland. Thomas’ negotiations benefit both TLH and the Russian president, an old friend. Thomas, however, has no choice but to contend with ex-pirate Wasir Osman Hassan, the interior minister who controls security in Borama, Adwalland’s capital. These associations put Thomas under surveillance from the CIA and both Russia’s and Britain’s foreign intelligence agencies. But a cold war may become heated when Thomas and his security team have to stop Wasir from staging a coup d'état. The author’s gleefully convoluted narrative brims with characters and plot points, following Thomas throughout the years—on an Iraq mission; as an entrepreneur; and saving 19-year-old Nara from her pimp, Oleg, in Turkmenistan. Thomas’ back story is well-developed; he falls in love with Nara, and the two have a daughter, Victoria. He’s also estranged from his father and blames him for his mother’s death. The number of characters can be overwhelming, but there are standouts, including Secret Intelligence Service agent Rebecca Leiris, who has watched Thomas for a long time and has a personal vendetta against Wasir, who killed her fiance. The story’s impact is a bit diminished by extensive grammatical errors, such as missing punctuation, which thorough proofreading could have prevented. Reagan ends his novel on a high note with rising tensions in Borama, which lead to hefty action scenes. And there’s room for sequels with the gaps in Thomas’ timeline, including much of the early 2000s.
Readers may be distracted by grammatical issues, but Reagan turns his 500-plus pages into a searing epic.
Pub Date: May 14th, 2014
Page count: 482pp
Publisher: Brightquart Rights
Program: Kirkus Indie
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