B.U.G. by T.J. Slee


Charlie Jones
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A Kurdish traffic cop hiding out in Australia may be the key to finding a long-missing Delta Force soldier in this thriller that introduces Australian Security Service officer Charlie Jones.

Jones, a friend observes, has a “fucked up job, and one seriously fucked up love life.” Both are going to get seriously more so as a complex operation gets “Buggered. Up. Good.” Jones, whose job is “running down people who know people who maybe might have heard about someone who went to the Middle East to fight,” must find the connection between the appearance in Sydney of the Kurd and the concurrent arrival of an American Defense Clandestine Service covert operative code named Opium. At the same time, the security officer needs to get to the bottom of a seeming pyramid-type scheme by which Syrian Kurds are raising money to send home to their families (is it for a more sinister purpose?). Also on the to-do list: locating five terrorists posing as barbers who are believed to be recruiting fighters for their cause. “And most important,” Jones wonders, “what the hell am I going to do about Karn?,” a ravishing woman to whom the officer cannot fully commit. Slee (The Vanirim, 2015) writes credibly about intelligence and anti-terrorist initiatives. For Americans, the book is akin to immersion in foreign-language instruction, although a line like “she’s straight as the Stuart Highway” needs no translation. At various points throughout the intricately plotted novel, Jones helpfully sums up what is known and unknown to keep readers focused on the big picture. Slee has a cheeky wit. Before things take a dark turn in the second portion of the book, Jones, narrating, suggests, “If you were drinking red for the first part…pour yourself a scotch now.” There is also a sucker punch of a twist that ranks with the last line of Charles Willeford’s Pick-Up. It’s truly a ripper, as the Aussies might say.

An auspicious introduction to an unconventional new character in the spy game.

Pub Date: Feb. 13th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-5197-1109-0
Page count: 302pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2016


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