Wednesday, January 20, 2010

BLACK OPS by W.E.B. Griffin

A Presidential Agent Novel
Publisher: Berkeley Jove
Publication Date: December 2008
ISBN: 978-0-515-14739-1
Thriller, Suspense
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained via publisher

Lt. Colonel Charley Castillo answers to one person and one person only. That would be the President of the United States. When several people more or less connected to Charley are murdered, he calls in his team and together they begin looking into the who and why of the murders. The search takes them to Europe, South America and finally back to the United States, with a bit of intrigue along the way that in turn leads them to perhaps the greatest terrorist threat since 2001.

It is during the visit to Europe that Charley learns his life may be on the line. Actually the person tasked with assassinating him contacts him and tells him so. Events take an even more stunning turn when the would be assassin tells Charley he wishes to defect and not only him but several members of his family. The race to deliver the defectors to safety takes yet another twist when one of the parties discloses just what the bad guys have planned for the United States. With a cadre of politicos all out to put Charley in what they wish was his place, Charley himself becomes the prey of the very people he is trying to protect. Only the President can pull him and his team back from the abyss. The question is, will he?

I became a W.E.B. Griffin fan in the early 1990’s when I “discovered” his Corps series. I was dating a Marine at the time and despite the fact the war fought in the Corps was decades from the one my Marine went off to fight, I felt a connection. From there I moved on to the Badge of Honor series which is also a collection of fabulous reads. How could I not move into the Presidential Agent series?

Charley Castillo is a marvelous hero. He has a smidge of the alpha that romance readres enjoy as well as a sense of his own limitations. Except for his cigar smoking (which was a major turn off to me) he is one of the most appealing male characters I have read in a long time.

Mr. Griffin also has what is, I think, a writing style that is hard to pull off well. He tells part of the story from the omnisicnt point of view – one many editors seem to frown on but can tell a good story, part from the third person and that is blended with a delightful balance of Charley’s own internal thoughts. It is through his own internal thoughts that readers see his very real human emotions.

I will admit my favorite character in the entire book though is Max – and you will have to pick up BLACK OPS to meet him yourself!

Seriously, at almost 800 pages BLACK OPS is an engrossing read that even at the end you want to read more. One wonders what will Charley Castillo’s next move be.


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