First Strike (Dewey Andreas #6), by Ben Coes

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Ben Coes, and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy of this book, which allows me to provide you with this review.

In a great addition to his Dewey Andreas series, Coes offers a somewhat unique take on the ISIS obsession in thriller novels. After the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Tristan Nazir is approached by America’s Deputy Secretary of Defence with an offer he cannot refuse; accept a large sum of money to build a state to counter the radical efforts of the region and come out strongly pro-USA. However, after Nazir double-crosses the Deputy Secretary, he emerges with a strong fighting force to amass his own anti-American state, ISIS, which has made inroads into both Syria and Iraq. With the American money having gone to fund this group, there is no turning off the spigot, for fear of significant blackmail. A new shipment of a billion dollars’ worth of arms comes through some secret slush funds within the Department of Defence and ISIS remains strong as it fights the very nation supporting it. Dewey Andreas is sent into Syria to attempt to quell some of the fallout and kill the kingpin to the entire operation. However, rather than getting his man, Andreas finds himself being held by ISIS, ready to make him answer for the crimes of his country. Upon learning of the latest shipment headed for the region, the Americans intercept it and turn the ship back, which only ups the ante and forces Nazir to call for a plan of retribution. Using a cell within America, he organizes a hostage taking at Columbia University with students at the core. Will the President blink and openly negotiate with terrorists for the lives of Americans on their own soil, or will Columbia University turn into a bloodbath? With Andreas preparing for a public beheading, anything seems possible, even as the clock ticks down. Coes offers readers a wonderfully fast-paced thriller that will keep readers guessing and hoping until the last page. Not to be missed by Coes fans, new and old!

Coes proves yet again that he is the master of his trade as he constructs an Andreas thriller that pits his protagonist in his most dire situation yet. Building not only on his present storyline but also constructing more of the Dewey Andreas backstory, Coes offers his readers another glimpse into why there is always something new to offer. With a strong cast of characters whose own plots are built into the larger narrative, Coes advances much for fans who have keen interests in those who support the story. Infused with description when it proves necessary, but not too much to turn the reader away, there are many layers to the story that help present it in a factual manner. That said, the reader can suspend a little reality at times and sit back while enjoying the ride.

Kudos, Mr. Coes for another stellar piece of work. I never tire of your stories or how they play out on the page. As always, you keep the reader guessing just enough that they must come back for more.