Daniel Petrovich, a former operative in the Department of Defense’s top-secret Black Flag program, is recalled to duty in this launch of a new thriller series.
Brandishing an ax and soon to butcher the wheelchair-bound brother of a Serbian crime boss, Marko Resja—aka Daniel Petrovich, a deep-cover American operative working under the direction of Gen. Terrence Sanderson—muses that this assassination will soon set him free. Six years later, Petrovich, happily married to Jessica and working at a semiconductor company in Maine, receives a call for “Marko”—and a new mission from Sanderson. Petrovich resists until the name Zorana Zekulic is mentioned, then he executes the directive to kill a nearby Muslim businessman. Petrovich’s hit is one of eight coordinated assassinations that together take down an FBI operation tracking al-Qaida funding. The FBI and CIA soon connect the killings to Sanderson, uncovering the now-retired general’s rogue and apparently reactivated Black Flag program. CIA assistant director Karl Berg deploys his own covert team to grab Petrovich, since, as Marko, his beheading of a CIA agent is among the crimes. Obeying yet always distrusting Sanderson, Petrovich flees Maine to meet up with his former boss, hoping all the while he’ll be able to contact and start a new life with Jessica. U.S. Naval Academy graduate Konkoly (The Jakarta Pandemic, 2010) has crafted a well-paced thriller that sets his new series in motion, providing entertaining plot twists, nifty evasion techniques and a healthy dose of cynicism about government agencies. The array of secondary characters can get a bit dizzying at times, making the cheat-sheet list the author provides particularly helpful. Prime mover Sanderson’s motivations remain somewhat murky, but perhaps more will be revealed in future installments. Hero Petrovich also has plenty of potential, with more to explore regarding his existential qualities (reminiscent of Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne), his rather unexpressed romantic yearnings and his shockingly unapologetic execution of extremely violent acts.
A promising start to a complex new black-ops thriller series.