A Kurdish warrior and an American soldier take on Islamic terrorists threatening massive Ebola attacks in Barrameda’s debut adventure novella.
When members of the terrorist group Al-Dawla Al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham (aka the Islamic State group, ISIL, or ISIS) massacre a village, it turns out that they have a hidden agenda: retrieval of some Ebola samples and their corresponding research. Soon they create weapons armed with the virus—a new strain that rapidly infects and kills its victims. U.S. Air Force Col. Mark Thomas initiates a personal mission of vengeance after the terrorist group bombs his base, and he commandeers a helicopter to rescue several captured women from the radicals. One of those women is Ren, a trained warrior who already has her own vendetta against the terrorists, who are responsible for the deaths of her father and brother. Mark and Ren form a two-person army and set their sights on the terrorist leader, Askari. This novella is a quick read that gets the action started almost immediately. The story speeds through much of its plot; a helicopter in flight, for example, is sure to be on the ground by the very next page. Barrameda’s prose is compact and precise, and she packs her novella with continuous gunfire and endless explosions. She also allows Ren to stand out, as her weapon of choice is a knife—an abundance of knives, actually, which she deftly throws at her enemies. Amazingly, the author still leaves room to develop her two main characters, and they convincingly build mutual trust by repeatedly saving each other from certain death. Their inevitable romantic relationship, on the other hand, is a little harder to believe; they fall in love too quickly and easily, and the scenes of the two in each other’s arms are considerably less engaging than the ones in which they battle extremists. The story manages a surprisingly understated ending that offers both resolution and the possibility of a sequel.
Action junkies will be more than satisfied by this thriller.