In the second of Snyder’s (The President’s Weapon, 2015) series, a covert group hopes to thwart terrorists planning a biological attack on America.
When President Robert Williams gets wind of an unusually massive fish kill in Alaska, he assumes the worst and contacts his clandestine unit for locating and eliminating terrorists. The group, under the authority of the newly formed Department of the Presidential Office, is known only to Williams and its four members, led by retired U.S. Marine Capt. Richard Starr. Hacker Darlene Phillips quickly confirms a potential bioweapon when she spots, via satellite imagery, a person wearing a hazmat suit throwing an item into an Alaskan lake. The Centers for Disease Control later surmise that the item contained a toxin that activates in water and subsequently disintegrates. Starr’s group, which also includes former Marine sniper Marvin Styles and pilot J.C. Christman, also faces a rather significant, unexpected hurdle: the CIA. Its director, Bernard Backersley, felt left out of the loop during Starr’s last mission, and he enlists cyberunit head Myra Banks to look into Phillips, his former operative. Soon, Starr’s entire team is under CIA surveillance and dodging nosy agents who get in the way of their investigation. Meanwhile, the Iraqi Republican Guard is plotting another strike. This action-packed novel maintains a steady pace, thanks in part to Snyder providing a countdown to the Iraqi attack, which is mere days away. Major character Styles is the definitive antihero, readily acknowledging that he functions as the team’s killer: “it’s a job I just happen to do well.” His actions are sometimes morally dubious, such as when he ruthlessly kills a few CIA agents for, essentially, their lack of cooperation. His apparent invulnerability, however, gradually reduces the suspense; even when he’s unarmed with a gun in his face, he defends himself with the greatest of ease. The team, though, is always kept in danger, particularly as Backersley becomes dead-set on proving the existence of the president’s covert unit. The ending sets up another sequel—bad guys are still out there, including a villain that’s sure to become the most formidable of the series.
A suspenseful thriller featuring an unsympathetic but effective defender against threats to the nation.