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Jim Tindle
Jim Tindle, author
Arsen is on a trip of self-discovery as he travels to Blue Ridge, Georgia to infiltrate a violent militia headed up by "The Major" and his cohort...Crimson Fox.
In his third outing, the mysterious agent Arsen heads to Georgia, on the trail of a violent militia known as the Ridgetown Riders, aka the Silent Mirage, a hate-fueled group similar to the Proud Boys and headed by the battle-hardened Major Coker. Arsen's controller, Nils, tasks him with infiltrating the Silent Mirage and find out what connections they have. A veteran himself, Arsen easily slips into the group, thanks partly to his growing relationship with group member Crimson Fox, who busts heads at the bar she co-owns and served as a hand-to-hand combat training instructor at Fort Benning. As the Silent Mirage's activities become increasingly deadly, Arsen must come to terms with his own bloody past, while Crimson questions her own loyalties. The final reckoning is cathartic—and surprising.

Tindle, a Vietnam veteran, is very much at home in the military milieu and rolls out the characters with a strong sense of their background. Fans of military thrillers will revel in the wide range of hardware and high-tech descriptions. And for those who like their violence graphic, Tindle doesn't disappoint: a dead man's head looks "like a watermelon that had been dropped off a ten-story building." Readers may fear that the repellant Silent Mirage is out of control, but Arsen again proves as capable—and morally flexible—as James Bond. Indeed, he refers to himself as a "contract assassin" and goes about proving that the title fits.

Although the focus is on plot and action, Tindle has a good ear for the coarse camaraderie of soldiers, including some macho strutting that is straight out of high school. Nevertheless, an occasional real emotion affects these tough guys. And the love affair between Arsen and Crimson is fun and sexy, rounding out the characters and serving as an effective break between action scenes. Interestingly, though, in this man's man book, the cleverest exchanges are found in the bromance between Arsen and his boss Nils. Overall, a good choice for action fans.

Takeaway: Explosive action as an off-the-books agent infiltrates a domestic hate group.

Comparable Titles: T. R. Hendricks's The Infiltrator, Jack Carr.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: A-
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: B+