Series: Jordan Sandor (Book 4)
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Post Hill Press (April 26, 2016)
Purchase at Amazon
Bronx native Jeffrey Stephen's Rogue Mission is a crisply written and plotted novel in the tradition of Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler, James Patterson and other luminaries in the thriller genre. This is the fourth book in the Sandor's series, perennial Amazon best sellers, the others being Targets of Deception, Opportunity, and Revenge. The series has become increasingly popular amongst aficionados of that legion of hard men who mince few words, don't apologize for America, battle world-wide evil (particularly the Islamist variety), and rarely miss when discharging lead in the direction of our country's enemies. Think of Sandor as James Bond as he'd act and behave if he grew up in The Bronx. In a conflict between the two, Bond wouldn't have a chance.
Now, in the modern-day suspense thriller, certain things are expected and Rogue Mission serves up the goods. These include:
All these elements are in place as the action of Rogue Mission kicks off. The problem with writing a review of a suspense novel is if you say too much, you immediately run the risk of spoilers. I'll simply say the action of the book kicks off when our hero nearly dies during a terrorist attack in Hartford, CT. (Yes, Hartford. Why not Hartford? Isn't it time we all gave New York a rest?)
As he recovers from his wounds (Sandor, while tough, is no cartoon-style superman who can undergo crashes and rapid deceleration events that would macerate his every internal organ), he begins to dig into the circumstance surrounding the bombing, which also kills one his best friends, a federal judge. Despite being ordered off the mission, he continues to dig into the case, hence the "Rogue" in the title of the book. What he finds launches him on a mission to thwart a conspiracy stretching from City Island to Syria. Evil is definitely afoot and it will take all of Jordan's skill and macho to foil the plot and ensure the bad guys get what they deserve. (Boy, do they ever.)
A nice bonus of Rogue Mission is a plot that didn't make my eyeballs roll back in my head. Over the years, I've stopped watching Bond movies because the stories have become increasingly ridiculous. I finally snapped after watching Die Another Day, which featured a North Korean baddie transformed into an English Twit via plastic surgery! Everyone thinks the movie was very avant garde because the opening scenes show Bond being tortured, but since Madonna was also in the film, I thought that was simple justice.
(OK, I admit it, I watched Skyfall on Netflix. Prometheus made more sense.)
One of the fun sub-plots of the book revolves around two lightly disguised celebrities (you'll figure out their identities almost instantly) who are kidnapped and held hostage in a Middle East refugee camp by the bad guys. I particularly enjoyed this part of the tale because I actually rooted for the imperiled famous personalities and worried about their fate. If I were to attempt to write a high-tech thriller with people from People magazine, I'd pick Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian and spend the rest of the novel torturing them to death. (OK, I'd go easy on Kim; after all, she is a mother of two. Bieber, no mercy.) It's why I'm probably not the right choice to author this class of book.
When I read a suspense thriller, I apply a simple test. Once I start reading the book, do I have a hard time putting it down until I reach the end?
Rogue Mission easily met that test.
Read my interview with author Jeffrey S. Stephens on Jordan Sandor, Rogue Mission, and The Bronx by clicking on this link.
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