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by W.E.B. Griffin ; William E. Butterworth IV

Pub Date: Dec. 31st, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-399-16067-7
Publisher: Putnam

Griffin (Covert Warriors, 2011, etc.) takes a shot at humor in his eighth Presidential Agent adventure.

Lt. Col. Charley Castillo has retired from black ops. Castillo left the service after new president Joshua Ezekiel Clendennen made a bad decision. Castillo went rogue, saved the day and left the president with egg on his face. Now, needing good PR for a re-election campaign, Clendennen, regarded by Washington insiders as "absolutely bonkers," orders Castillo recalled. Clendennen wants Castillo to gut Mexican drug cartels and sweep the seas free of Somali pirates. In the meantime, the president’s intent on renaming special-ops forces "Clendennen’s Commandos" and trading green berets for clan kilts. Griffin attempts a sendup of politicians, spotlight-hungry reporters, fumbling dictators and bumbling ex-KGB ghouls. Griffin’s heroes are Delta Force, SEAL, Special Forces, Marines, "dinosaur" CIA agents, and former KGB and Spetsnaz tough guys and gals who’ve seen the light. Allied with the secretary of state, director of Central Intelligence, and other movers and shakers, Castillo’s intent on preventing unnecessary bloodshed while humoring the deluded Clendennen, whose more pressing worries include coping with his wife, Belinda-Sue, who wants to be nominated vice president, an ambition complicated by her mother’s escape from the Ocean Springs Baptist Assisted Living Facility in search of "Mason jars full of Mississippi’s finest 140-proof white lightning." Characters are interchangeable, like patriotic moneymen who secretly finance covert operations, Secret Service agents studying The Godfather trilogy for leadership tips, aristocratic and well-placed foreigners, and Vladimir Putin–pursued Russian émigrés who own Argentinian estates and Cozumel-based cruise ships.

This SNL-meets–Spy vs. Spy story isn’t Carl Hiaasen laugh-out-loud funny, but Griffin draws what humor he can from once-upon-a-time deeds of derring-do, complex plans to divert a president's lunacies, Gulfstream V continent-hopping and zero action.