Safe Havens – Shadow Masters

So, it took me a while to get through this one (sorry, J.T.!).  J.T. Patten did warn me that he considered the second novel, Primed Charge, to be much better written.  While I can see why, this book is no slouch on its own. Sean Havens is a spook’s spook.  He doesn’t have a formal cover; he doesn’t even directly work for any agency.  He’s a contractor, who goes to various countries as a corporate drone of some kind, blends in, learns the human terrain, and then manipulates it to a desired outcome.  Somewhere nearby, people die, and he goes home to his family, completely unconnected. Except that, despite his paranoia (which is impressive, by the way), there are still people who know who he is.  And they know where his family is.  That leads to a personal tragedy that draws Havens into something far darker than anything he’s been involved in yet (and he’s been hip-deep in some pretty dark stuff, as you discover as the book goes on).

Overtaken By Events

“Timeliness” is a temptation that I think most military/spy fiction writers have to deal with.  “Ripped from the headlines!” and “Prophetic!” are compliments that reviewers have used for works in the genre going back to Tom Clancy, at least.  Those same phrases have been applied to some of my own work, and I’ll admit that it can be somewhat affirming (though often in a grim sort of way) to see events move in a generally similar direction to that predicted in one of your novels.  It shows you that you read the situation fairly accurately.