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Monday, July 20, 2015


5 stars out of 5

It's always interesting to see what political hot buttons will set author Brad Thor on a conservative roll in his books featuring counter-terrorism operative Scot Harvath - this is the 15th in the series. Sure enough, expressed mostly through Harvath's musings, he hits a bunch of them here, ranging from the United Nations and CIA to the government's penchant for spying on citizens to the belief that what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander (i.e., if our enemies do it to us, why shouldn't we return the favor?) But agree with his philosophies or not - for me, it's more often not - he sure can write a heck of a story.

Just about ready to head out for a long-awaited, relaxing vacation with his girlfriend (well, as much as the adventure-loving former SEAL is able to relax), Harvath gets called back into action by the private firm for which he's now employed. He loves his work here because the company is able to color outside the lines when necessary; they get jobs done that those who must follow rules and regulations and function within official channels can't (such as torture and murder), and he's exceptionally good at what he does. 

Initially, the job involves a trip to a clinic deep within the Congo, where it appears there's been a cover-up of a mass murder. That leads to the realization that countries of the world - most notably the United States and Israel - are the targets of a terrorism plot involving the spread of a deadly disease. At the center of the plot is a secret committee whose members are beyond reach of the law of the land. Harvath and his team, however, are well acquainted with ways to circumvent such boundaries; still, learning the identity of those plotting to revamp and take over the world, tracking them down and ending the threat of human extinction puts Harvath's nearly super-human skills (as well as some pretty nifty technology) to the test. 

Yes, the whole thing is a little over the top in the believability department, but hey, it probably could happen (and besides, who today doesn't worry at least a little bit about bioterrorism)? If ever that were to come to pass for real, I just hope there'll be somebody like Harvath in our corner!

Code of Conduct by Brad Thor (Atria/Emily Bestler Books, July 2015); 368 pp.

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