Friday, August 21, 2015

Clear By Fire - Joshua Hood

Clear By Fire
Joshua Hood
Touchstone, Aug 18 2015, $26.00
ISBN: 9781501105715

Anvil, the darkest American ops unit, performs the ugliest of missions; most of which are illegal under USA and international law.  In an Afghan village, even though he knows they’re innocent, contain no useful info re a local Taliban cell and face certain death once his squad leaves; Anvil team leader Colonel Barnes orders the assassinations of the “uncooperative”.  Almost all of his subordinates salute their boss and perform their duty; only Kane objects and refuses to participate.

Believing no solider declines a mission for any reason, Barnes orders Decklin to kill Kane.  While Kane flees to safety, Barnes accuses him of a village massacre.  His team has orders to kill the mass murderer.  At the same time, the mess in Afghanistan causes issues for national security adviser Cage just before his approval to deploy Operation Lion; releasing nerve gas in Damascus that will lead to a regional war.

With a nod to Lee Child's Jack Reacher, the first Search and Destroy thriller is 200-proof action from start to finish.  The key cast is underdeveloped and somewhat interchangeable in spite of gender or ethics as the hero, his only friend, a female task force unit chief, and the villains share the same (and only) mantra: blow them up before they blow you up.  Still Joshua Hood provides an adrenaline-charged opening act in which no one will look at a lighter in the same way.

Harriet Klausner

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