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Retribution by Anderson Harp

The international thriller, “Retribution” has just been published by Pinnacle Books/Kensington Publishing Corp.  I have been chomping at the bits to get a review out for this book for the past month.  It is one of those gripping plots where it is very hard to put the book down.  I finished all 519 pages in record time, long before I was scheduled to get this review out and I’ve spent a good share of today rereading portions of this fast-paced thriller.

Set in the harsh mountains between Pakistan and Afghanistan, a master spy, James Scott, is tasked to head a CIA/special forces operation to infiltrate a Jihadist cell, kill the terrorist leader, and stop the transport of several nuclear core devices into the U.S.   He works with a combined military special forces/CIA and MI6 group to train and deploy to Pakistan for the mission. He recruits Will Parker, who is multilingual and steeped in Islamic culture and a former Marine, to impersonate a Bosnian journalist who is about to start a new job as a journalist for an extremist Islamic publication in London.   That journalist has already been invited to visit the terrorist leader in his mountain hide-out.

Counter-intelligence operations make it clear that the post-Bin Laden leaders intend to target major population centers in the U.S. with nuclear bombs literally flown in under the radar.  These suicide bombers have been trained to fly small aircraft at low altitudes to avoid radar detection.  Once the nuclear cores are in the U.S. it will become almost impossible to stop all of the attacks. The terrorists’ leader appears to be one of the people responsible for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, and William Parker’s  parents were among the passengers killed on that flight.    Planning for a new series of catastrophic bombings appears to be well along the way so U.S. special forces must respond quickly to the threat. Parker wants nothing more than to exact Retribution on the terrorists.

The book is a nail-biter right from the get-go.  It starts with a low altitude small plane flight across Lake Michigan from Canada to the Chicago shoreline.  From the very first chapter the reader knows that there is a real and present threat of nuclear catastrophe if the terrorist cell is not squashed immediately.    The mission seems like a real “Hail Mary” as there are so many moving parts and people to coordinate.  There is also an ingenious plan devised for Parker to kill off massive numbers of the terrorist cell without getting killed himself.  That plan almost backfires.

Harp’s experience as a Marine training officer shows through in the lingo he uses and the descriptions made of weaponry and military covert ops tactics.  No one but a well-trained military officer could have written this book.

Those who enjoyed “Lone Survivor” and “The Hurt Locker,” friends of the show “Homeland” and lovers of books by Tom Clancy will love “Retribution.”  Highly recommended as one of the best thrillers in ages.

Liz Nichols

(Reviewed using a supplied copy.)

 

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Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich

It is no secret that the Stephanie Plum series is one of my guilty pleasures.  In “Notorious Nineteen” Janet Evanovich manages to blow up yet another of Stephanie’s cars within the first few pages of the book and I think later on Morelli’s car is also totaled.  It’s a good thing her sometime boss Ranger has an endless supply of nice vehicles for her to borrow and he no longer blinks an eye when someone destroys one of his cars while chasing Stephanie.

Stephanie is in one of her dry periods as far as the bond recovery business goes.  She accepts the job of tracking the disappearance of an assisted living residence owner who is accused of embezzling from the residents.  He has disappeared from a hospital after an appendectomy.  Was he murdered, or did he get help escaping?  Either way, Stephanie needs him or his body to collect the fee for recovering the bond.  She also takes a bodyguard job with Ranger to protect the life of one of his buddies who is being threatened by one of the men who was part of a special forces unit with Ranger and this other mark, Kinsey.  She must appear as the maid of honor in Kinsey’s wedding while Ranger is the best man.  Meanwhile, in this book, Stephanie has decided to maintain a monogamous relationship with Morelli.  The job with Ranger complicates that relationship a bit, but in the end Morelli seems to take it in stride.

Once again, this Stephanie Plum installment is a quick and pleasurable read, although I have to admit I’m getting a little tired of all the cars that get blown up.

Liz Nichols

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