Harper / Harper Collins
December 28, 2010/ ISBN
by Dennis Collins
After three years as
an FBI agent, Steve Vail is dismissed for insubordination. He wasn’t
a bad agent, perhaps just a little too moral for the bureaucracy.
And now the bureau wants him back. It seems that a self-proclaimed
domestic terrorist organization called the “Rubaco Pentad”
has targeted the FBI and is killing off high profile citizens and
demanding huge amounts of cash or the murders will escalate. But
ex-agent Vail has begun a new and uncomplicated life as a bricklayer
and is enjoying his simple existence.
Newly appointed FBI
Deputy Director Kate Bannon is sent to persuade Vail to return as
a special agent reporting exclusively to her and subject only to
her and the Director’s authority. Vail accepts on the condition
that he is allowed to operate alone and that his services be pro
The FBI bungled their
first attempt to thwart the extortionists resulting in the death
of one of their young agents. The second effort didn’t fare
much better when the agent along with the two million dollar ransom
simply disappeared. The bureau wants answers to the whereabouts
of their agent and they want their money back.
The Rubaco Pentad’s next demand is that Vail deliver another
three million dollars or more people will die.
Vail knows that he must
make his own rules if he is to have any chance of neutralizing his
antagonists and he’s painfully aware that he will be jeopardizing
Deputy Director Bannon’s future with the bureau if he confides
in her and she sanctions his unorthodox methods. Vail and Bannon
seem to be forming a bond that goes beyond their duties but Vail
can’t allow that to interfere with his focus. Bannon is as
determined as Vail to bring the perpetrators to justice and continually
urges Vail to push forward… with her tagging along of course.
Matching wits with the
evil master of Rubaco Pentad is a serious challenge and Vail must
use chessmaster planning and anticipation just to keep pace. Indicators
point to his adversary having inside knowledge and so Vail must
be doubly vigilant with every move he makes.
The thing that sets
Steve Vail apart from other renegade heroes is that he doesn’t
seem burdened by excessive angst. His demeanor is quite cavalier
and he never seems to get too upset with the incompetence that surrounds
him. He recognizes it, analyzes it, and finds a way around it. His
stoicism serves him well by allowing him to concentrate on the goal
rather than the obstacles.
Kate Bannon is another
very good character in this book. She is strong, confident, and
shares Vail’s views of right and wrong.
I found this book extremely
entertaining partly because there was always a “feel good”
aura surrounding the protagonists. It is very well written and extremely
fast paced. I liked everything about it.