Dance with the Enemy (The Enemy #1), by Rob Sinclair

Three stars

In his first novel, Sinclair offers the reader an interesting spin on a long-used thriller approach. Carl Logan is a man whose come off the rails. A long-time member of the JIA, a covert joint US-UK agency whose agents act well below the radar. After Logan was captured and tortured by Youssef Selim, he is unable to function effectively and finds solace in the bottom of a highball glass. During a trip to Paris, the US Attorney General is kidnapped and his motorcade decimated. Logan is pulled back from the brink to help locate the AG, fuelled mainly by a chance to enact revenge on Selim, whose men are allegedly behind the event. While many at JIA are leery of Logan, he’s given a short leash and limited time to prove his worth. As the bodies begin to pile up, Logan’s head is in a noose and he must remain off any radar if he hopes to reach Selim and save the AG. When FBI Special Agent Angela Grainger locates him, she can Logan begin running the mission on their own and soon discover a larger plot, in which Selim is only a player. However, when Logan has the chance to come face to face with Selim, he cannot stand down. What is the reason for the AG’s kidnapping and how does Selim play into the larger plot? Sinclar keeps the reader wondering as the story progresses, with twists and turns perfect for the curious reader to enjoy.

Sinclair does a great job in fleshing out his Carl Logan character. While this is apparently the first in the series, there is enough backstory and reference to previous cases that the reader is left to wonder if Sinclair is paving the way for a prequel novel down the road. Even the Selim-Logan storyline would be a wonderful story, should it be fleshed out later on, as the hatred between the characters is wonderful. I stumbled upon Sinclair as I was asked to read and review the second novel in the series, but thought I ought to do my due diligence and delve into the Logan persona a little more before offering publishers a formal opinion of the man of mystery. The story moves well, though progress lags at times and there was little movement to offer for long periods of time. While Logan is no Bond, he does try to portray himself as one at times, as Sinclair peppers the narrative with a little romance to cut some of the killing tension. Overall, things moved nicely, though the use of a thriller novel rubric left some things highly predictable. An entertaining piece of work, which I hope is built upon in the second and subsequent novels.

Kudos, Mr. Sinclair for a good first effort. You can keep the reader’s interest and have a great character on your hands, should you wish to expand on his backstory.