Retired Army Ranger Tom Wolfe and wife Terry return to take down evil billionaire Vernon Crassman in Branam’s (Alaska Gold, 2014) action-thriller.
Having narrowly escaped murderous thugs in their previous adventure, Wolfe and Terry already know the lengths to which the Crassman Industries CEO will go to boost his wealth. So Wolfe, cooperating with the IRS in Seattle and posing as tax administrator Tom Jones, puts a plan into effect. He hopes to gather intel on undocumented workers at the company’s assembly plant, and he may find his opportunity when Crassman invites the disguised Wolfe to his ranch, which neighbors the facility. All Wolfe and Terry (as fiancee Terry Sweet) have to do is dig around the property and maintain their cover. But that won’t be easy with Crassman’s henchmen, including contract killer Theodore Dubord, joining them for the weekend. The energetic husband/wife protagonists once again prove more than capable, especially since Terry has trained in martial arts and is handy with a gun. The opening teases a bit of espionage: Wolfe’s scheme involves inciting Crassman by claiming that a video the CEO boasts of possessing— incriminating footage in which an IRS agent tries to bribe him—is a fake. But once Terry joins Wolfe at the ranch, the story disappointingly shifts its focus to the threat of one (or more) of the numerous villains exposing the couple or possibly recognizing them. Branam doesn’t skimp on character development, though, and Wolfe isn’t the only one with a scheme. Elki Lincoln, for example, is undercover helping Wolfe but also secretly working with Crassman’s COO to exact revenge for something Crassman did to her family years ago. Similarly, illegal workers Miing Jo Yang and Kari Liu flee the plant and hide out at the adjacent ranch, while auditor Michael Becker makes a bold move against Wolfe because he wants Wolfe’s (cover) job. The story, despite its shady deals, nefarious goings-on, and rather hefty body count, isn’t without humor; Dubord, for one, acknowledges his “job security,” since he’s confident Crassman won’t soon run out of people he wants dead.
An entertaining tale bolstered by outstanding characters, both recurring and new.