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Eye For An Eye
A Dewey Andreas Novel
Ben Coes

St. Martin's Press
July 9, 2013 / ISBN: 9781250007162

Reviewed by Elise Cooper

Ben Coes latest book, Eye For An Eye, has a very gripping story. His compelling characters must deal with the loss of someone who was intelligent, vibrant, and funny. As a result of a chain of events that were set in motion in his last book, The Last Refuge, his main character, Dewey Andreas, must deal with those who murdered his fiancée.

The plot begins with Dewey uncovering the identity of a mole embedded in Israel's Mossad by the Chinese intelligence. Fao Bhang, the head of China's Ministry of State Security, discovers the brutal elimination of the mole and responds by placing a kill order on the man he considers responsible, former Delta Ranger, Dewey Andreas. The kill team traces him to Argentina but instead of killing Dewey, murders his fiancée. The rest of the book involves Dewey seeking revenge. It becomes a cat and mouse game to see who will get revenge first, Dewey or Bhang. In the course of their chase there are very descriptive scenes a la Fast and Furious that enhance the pace of the plot.

Coes explained to why he eliminated the fiancée, "I was afraid of getting into a situation where my hero gets married and what role his wife would take in future books. It also allowed me, from a plot point of view, to create a way to pit Dewey against Chinese intelligence. I did not want to write about an easy, happy ending, because in the real world people die. What I wanted to portray is how Dewey gets really messed up, as do others when someone close dies."

The author gets this point across by using the phrase throughout the book, "There is only one thing to do. There is only one thing you were meant to do - fight." It was done to show Dewey's need to focus on the job at hand, getting revenge, and not on the emptiness that comes from losing a loved one. There is a lot of violence that will jar the reader, and Dewey definitely does not come across as a charm-school graduate.

Revenge is the common theme throughout, but there is also a warning to Americans about the Chinese government. Coes considers them very ruthless and without much moral fiber, which comes across in this book. He sees China as a threat to America's national security, "This book says exactly what I think. China has spent billions of dollars to build technology that has deep tentacles within the US. China uses its financial clout to inject itself into different countries' economies. The US is vulnerable due to our financial reliance on them. The weapon they use is money. Instead of bullets they fire money. There is a tremendous amount of cash reserves and I wanted to show a scenario where they take their inventory of US bonds and sell it for fifty cents on the dollar. China really scares me."

A scene that was edited out but later written as a short story was The Third Door. Coes explained that it was meant to be the first chapter in this book. Because he thought it was powerful and was an epilogue to The Last Refuge, readers were able to download it when pre-ordering this thriller. What makes The Third Door very relevant to Eye For An Eye is that its plot also deals with the issue of revenge.

Because he wanted to include something of himself and to show the President and Dewey's personality in a benign area, there is a scene involving hockey. There is a weekly pick-up game whose participants include the President, the Chief Supreme Court Justice, and many other officials. Dewey board checks a powerful Democratic Congressman from Chicago to get his revenge after the Congressman blindsided him. Anyone who enjoys hockey will like this play-by-play action. Coes commented, "There is definitely a part of me in every book. I play hockey, and my children also play. It's a great sport. It is Dewey's type of sport, tough. With Dewey it is all about righting wrong."

Eye For An Eye is a fast-paced thriller with compelling characters. Unfortunately, Dewey and his team lost a person that was a very critical component who also humanized Andreas. The book skillfully shows how Dewey pursues justice against those who are responsible for destroying his dream.

Reviewed 2013