Monday, April 11, 2016

War Hawk

War Hawk by James Rollins, Grant Blackwood
HarperCollins: 4/19/16
eBook review copy; 384 pages
ISBN-13: 9780062135278
Tucker Wayne Series #2

War Hawk by James Rollins and Grant Blackwood is a very highly recommended action/adventure thriller.

Former Army Ranger Tucker Wayne and his K-9 partner Kane, a seventy-pound Belgian Malinois, are vacationing in Montana, traveling together and trying to relax and mentally recover and heal after their recent military action. They immediately encounter trouble that showcases the close bond between man and dog - including Tucker's fighting abilities and and Kane's ability to follow Tucker's orders and assist him.

After that, the two return to their motel. Tucker is startled to see a former lover and her son hiding in the shadows, waiting for their return. Tucker was close to Jane Sabatello 6 years ago when she was an Intelligence Analyst with the 75th Rangers. Currently she is working for the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency). The problem is she knows that someone wants her dead. Colleagues of hers have been dying and she knows she is the next target. She wants Tucker to help her and another former teammate of theirs, Sandy, who is also a target.

The project Jane and Sandy were working on was classified. Since the two women were working for different departments/branches, Jane doesn't know the final result of the project. It appears to be privately funded. She's asking Tucker to help them and find out what they were working on, where secrecy is ensured by the death of the team members.

The trail leads from the deep South to other countries. Tucker manages to recruit a ragtag team of specialists along the way to help him uncover what is clearly a global conspiracy being instigated by a megalomaniac madman who is changing the course of modern warfare using drones.

The opening prologue for War Hawk doesn't make sense right away, but it is nonetheless gripping and firmly establishes that this is going to be a military based action/adventure thriller. Once the action starts at the prologue it is basically non-stop to the end. It is also timely with all the current discussions about the use of drones. I've said it before, and I'm going to repeat myself here, but I appreciate the fact that Rollins treats his readers with respect and a nod to their intelligence and ability to comprehend a complex plot based on current developments.

Tucker Wayne and Kane are great characters with a close bond. Rollins and Blackwood do a great job developing their characters and establishing their relationship with each other. I'll have to admit tearing up and holding my breath over a few Kane scenes. (What a good boy!) Some of the other characters are not as developed, but it is good to see some strong female characters working as equals alongside the males.

This is the second in a series that began with The Kill Switch, which I haven't read, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment of War Hawk. You will have to suspend your disbelief over several scenes, but, honestly, I expected that would be the case and had no problem doing it. Perfect stuck-over-night-at-the-airport book.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of HarperCollins for review purposes.

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