Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Retribution by Andy Harp
Second Star Online Publishing, November 2012
Paperback, 546 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1480148031

In the pitch-black cargo hold of the Pakistani airline freighter crossing the Atlantic, a wooden crate filled with levers for a weaving machine also had another object buried inside. If it makes it to its delivery point, an American city would become uninhabitable for a century. In this chilling thriller, Retribution is more than the story of a deep-cover mission to stop a terrorist with a core stolen from an Islamabad nuclear weapon. Here, the operative does much more to flush out the target than a hunt and chase. He becomes a carrier of a highly contagious strain of a deadly disease. In this oh-so-authentic story, author Andy Harp draws upon his experiences as a Marine who has served across the globe to create a uniquely real novel filled with breakneck thrills and plot twists.

With action that flies from New York to London, from Peshawar deep into the mountains of the Hindu Kush, and from Islamabad to Chicago, Retribution weaves political conspiracy and a perilous intelligence operation, hi-tech military technology and deadly current events, all with the crucible of a determined Jason Bourne-like character in conflict with just-as-determined a killer, into a classic “mission” thriller that delivers the kind of nail-biting suspense, realism and a kicker surprise at the end that is in the style of Ludlum, and the best of Thor and Flynn. The story is engrossing, the hero is remarkable, and the personal cost he pays for both his survival and success changes the man.

My Thoughts:
Retribution by Andy Harp is an action packed thriller where secret operations abound. Opening with an embassy bombing, soon several terrorist plots are shown to be in the works, both international and at home. A deep cover mission is in the works to stop all the terrorist activity. In an effort to stop the terrorists, the life and health of operative Will Parker is at an even greater risk than would normally be taken.

Retribution can favorably be compared to Tom Clancy novels. There are a lot of characters and the action and various terrorist plots culminate in nail biting suspense as they all try to work as fast as possible before the ultimate deadline. Harp knows his stuff, which lends authenticity to the action. Using planes as weapons is as frightening as it is now a part of our reality.

Some of the issues I had with Retribution are due to the format I read it in. I think this may be one of those books that would work better as a paperback where you can flip back to keep track of the characters. I find that much more difficult to do with an e-reader. But, that said, Retribution was the sort of sheer adrenaline-junkie suspense that is so much fun to read just for escapism when you are on a vacation.
highly recommended for those seeking military based action/adventure escapism
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Netgalley for review purposes.


Fifty Three Miles North by North East of Navy Pier
The pilot gripped the yoke of the aircraft until her tiny, dark hands turned nearly white, choking out all of the circulation. The Cessna single engine seaplane fought the wind as she kept it on its heading, south by south west, just above the whitecaps that were churning below on Lake Michigan. “Allahu akbar,” she kept repeating to herself in a whisper. “Allahu akbar.”  Location 30-33

As for Margaret Elizabeth O’Donald, since her days at Stanford she had been the polar opposite of Pat Stuart, always the one with her desk piled too high. Copies of Jane’s on weapons and shipping were shuffled with satellite imagery and intelligence memos across her desk. Jane’s was a spy’s bible. The encyclopedia of weapons and war machines contained the specifics on every killing machine ever made. And Maggie took great pride in knowing exactly where each copy lay, along with the scattered photos and documents. She also knew the mess drove Stuart crazy. Location 92-96

A flash of brilliant light came through both windows, and an explosion followed that rocked the building like a sonic boom. It sounded more like a deafening thud than a crack, as if the winds had muffled the sound in some strange way. Book, magazines, and files tumbled to the floor as the bomb’s concussion wave passed through the building. Pat lurched back to the window.
“What the hell was that?” Maggie ran over to the window on his side of the embassy and peered over his shoulder. The sandstorm continued to rage outside. “They must have used the storm to camouflage the attack,” she said as alarms began to sound throughout the building. The red light from the staircase just outside the door began to flash continuously. “God, it may not be over.” Location 129-135
The concussion from the blast shattered windows for several city blocks. The crater on the edge of the building quickly filled with water as the main to the embassy was sheared in the blast. It was an odd sight of smoke, blowing dust, and water spraying up from the pipe. As the winds began to die down with the passing of the storm, the smell of burned rubber, wood, and human remains overwhelmed the rescue crew searching through the pile of debris for survivors. Location 168-172

“I am told that the cement truck had about two tons of explosives in it. It left a crater twenty feet deep. Six are reported missing, with no trace that they ever even existed.” The flight surgeon spoke in his low, somber voice, barely audible over the hum of the engines. “How about the ambassador?”
“He wasn’t even in the embassy at the time.”
“Do you know who the six missing are?”
“Two Marine guards, three locals, and the security officer.” Location 221-224

He felt sick. She would not have been in Qatar but for him. It was supposed to be a safe place. The relationship risked both his marriage and career. He had weighed the decision carefully. She had to be placed out of sight. He just didn’t anticipate how good she would become in her new job. Maggie was coming up with intelligence that no one had even a hint of. Location 229-232

“Someone in Riyadh is trying to point the CIA in our direction. It is my understanding that the CIA woman in Doha has now been transferred to Walter Reed Hospital. We need to find her source.” And with that, for the first and last time in their meeting, Yousef smiled. Location 522-524 

“Good. Are you getting an idea of what this involves?”
“Given your interest in the CDC, I would surmise that you will carry a very bad bug into the camp and release it, and as a consequence Mr. Yousef will become sick and quickly die.”
“Right. Or, failing that, it should flush your target out into the open. If Yousef gets sick and has a doctor near him, he’ll likely be told that the only thing that can save him will be very special antibiotics at a high-end hospital. That should limit the number of places he could run to. Meanwhile, if the bug works quickly enough, or if the doctor misdiagnoses him, he dies in his camp.” Parker paused. “Along with hundreds or thousands of others, if you don’t mobilize shipments of vaccine and antibiotics into the region quickly enough.”
“We’ll take care of that,” Scott said. “But what about you? Being that close to a germ like that?” Location 1067-1073

Stewart offered a last warning: “You need to understand that although NM-13 has a seventy to eighty percent chance of being stopped, it also has a twenty to thirty percent chance that nothing will work." Stewart’s tone became somber. He stood directly in front of Parker, so as to allow no escape, and looked him directly in the eyes. “Once that packet is open and you feel it in your hand, you have, at the outside, twelve hours before bleeding out of every portal in your body.” Location 1161-1164

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