Just back from a deep cover assignment and looking forward to a vacation, DSS special agent Payton Ladd gets an urgent request to lead a manhunt in Baghdad. Civilian auditor Ben Ater, nephew of a powerful senator, has disappeared, and the Resident Security Officer needs Payton to find him.
The fact that the RSO is Payton’s old flame Catherine McCabe makes it hard for him to say no.
Once in Baghdad, Payton retraces Ben’s steps and talks to everyone who knows or claims to know why the young auditor mysteriously left the Green Zone. But the explanation that Ben was dealing drugs still doesn’t explain why he went missing in the Red Zone, a place he had no business—legal or illegal—being.
As he continues to dig, Payton uncovers more pieces of Ben’s puzzle that don’t fit. He also provokes influential people, like the civilian head of the multinational corporation Titan United and the military head of the contractor program for the US Defense Department in Iraq. When some individuals Payton has interviewed end up dead and North Korean counterfeit “supernotes” appear all over Iraq, he is convinced Ben wasn’t kidnapped over anything as simple as a drug deal.
With the help of embassy guard Marines, a team of special operators, DSS bomb specialists, Bedouin tribesmen, and a homemade drone, Payton uncovers a web of conspiracy that could topple nations.
Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 8.75 out of 10
Plot: This suspenseful and tightly plotted thriller follows a special agent’s quest to locate the missing nephew of a U.S. senator in Baghdad’s Red Zone.
Prose: Writing in clear, confident prose, the author also integrates engaging and dynamic dialogue. Frequent repetition of key points and concepts distract from the novel's otherwise smooth storytelling.
Originality: The author takes care to develop a distinct sense of place, relying on particular historical and geopolitical details to achieve verisimilitude.
Character Development: Bertolina deftly builds key characters as they individually face heightened professional and emotional conflict, as well as threats of physical violence.
Date Submitted: August 03, 2018
“Full of action, suspense and intrigue. This is the first book I have read of Bertolina’s but can’t wait to read another.”
Donald McGrath, Goodreads
You won't want to put it down. Mr. Bertolina takes USC into a world that makes you quiver as you turn the pages.
Kathi Defranc, Goodreads
“My first by this author but I am eagerly awaiting his next effort!”
Raymond Weiand, Amazon
“There's a lot of suspense, all of the expected twists, some unexpected twists, and a few moments that just reach out and slap you in the face. This was a great read that I sat down and finished in one sitting.”
- 414 pages
Paperback Book Details
- 9781732140905 B07FLG1G5V
- 414 pages