The Rise of the Enemy (The Enemy #2), by Rob Sinclair

Four stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Rob Sinclair, and Clink Street Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book, which allows me to provide you with this review.

In his follow-up novel in the Enemy series, Sinclair pulls the reader deeper into the internal struggles of Carl Logan, as well as the lengths to which he will go to survive. Still smarting from his recent encounter with Youssef Selim, Logan is sent by the JIA, a joint US-UK super covert agency whose missions are completely off the books, to learn about Project Ruby and its progress in the Russian hinterland. As Logan tries to complete the task at hand, he is made and captured. Spending three months being tortured at the hands of the Russians, this is much worse than anything he’s ever faced, though his will is strong and he is eventually able to escape. However, his problems are only beginning, as he is in the middle of nowhere, unsure whom he can trust, but led to believe his own people, at all levels of the JIA, were prepared to sacrifice him for their own gains. As Logan negotiates through the possible scenarios, the JIA, Russians, and potentially the Americans themselves are all out to eliminate him. With no one he can trust, Logan must rely on himself and his finely-honed skills to make it to safety, if such a place exists. A wonderful second novel, building on some key elements from his previous book in the series, the reader will not be disappointed.

After reading his somewhat jilted opening novel, I was pleasantly surprised to see Sinclair shake off the rust and produce such a powerful second novel. The story is much crisper and allows the reader a better look at Carl Logan the character. Weaving important storylines from the opening novel, Sinclair shows how this novel could, seemingly, work as a stand-alone, but the breadcrumbs are a little too scarce to fill the reader in completely. With a stronger story taking place in a more centralised (albeit barren) location, Sinclair works on key elements in the plot’s development and the fleshing out of characters whose importance arc throughout the novel. With some interesting twists that the reader likely was not expecting, Sinclair captivates those who take the time to read it, while also showing how Logan remains a man on the verge of derailing at any minutes. Wonderful use of flashback sequences to show the ‘present’ and ‘time in captivity’, Sinclair can illustrate the depth of the struggles in which Logan finds himself. I did comment in the previous book’s review that a thoroughly detailed novel on Logan’s time with Selim might be necessarily to give the reader a better feeling for the plight at the hands of a sadistic killer. Sinclair seems to have answered this call by showing the reader how close Logan came to breaking and how far some people are prepared to go. A completely different novel from the first that will keep readers who were on the fence fully committed for Sinclair’s next publication. 

Kudos, Mr. Sinclair for this wonderful piece. I hope there is more to come at this calibre.