First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Marc Cameron, Kensington Books, and Pinnacle for providing me with a copy of this book, which allows me to provide you with this review.
In his latest Jericho Quinn novel, Cameron takes readers back to the frozen tundra of Alaska for an explosive thriller. When a deadly nerve agent is released at a high school football game in Dallas, all fingers point to a branch of ISIS, especially with the perpetrators dressing the part. The President’s National Security Advisor calls on Jericho Quinn and others within the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) to stop the threat before it blossoms. Chatter links the gas, called New Archangel, to a Russian chemist, Kostya Volodin. During a trip from his homeland to Alaska, Volodin and his daughter, Kaija, have apparently sought to defect. Before everyone can be properly sorted, Volodin and Kaija disappear and are hiding. Russian officials are seeking to find their rogue scientist before he can release any more news about the gas. The narrative exposes that it is the Russians who are responsible for the gas and its attacks, with primary blame falling at the feet of the Black Hundreds, a terror organization seeking the purity of Russia. Quinn is tasked with finding Volodin within Alaska while Jacques Thibodaux and Ronnie Garcia, two others from the OSI, are sent to New York, where the scientist’s son has apparently been sent some of the New Archangel by accident. An attack in Los Angeles makes the mission even more important and shows that the next attack could happen at anytime, anywhere. While Thibodaux and Garcia team up with an old friend in NYC, Quinn is set to work with Thibedaux’s cousin, Specal Agent Khaki Beaudine of the FBI as they travel through Alaska seeking out the senior Volodin. Quinn’s mission takes them into the tundra, involved in a winner-takes-all game with a Russian sniper, known locally as Worst of the Moon. Needing to secure Volodin as soon as possible, Quinn and Beaudine soon discover that some will stop at nothing to keep them from completing their mission. They traverse cold and open tracts of land to find Volodin, only to discover that Anchorage might be the location chosen for the next attack and that someone close to Volodin could be masterminding the entire Black Hundreds. While Thibodaux and Garcia seek to infiltrate the underworld to keep the gas out of the hands of anyone in the Big Apple, Quinn will use all his strength and determination not to fail, though every man has their physical limits. A wonderfully fast-paced story that turns the cat and mouse game into one of bear and seal. Series fans will surely enjoy this story while newcomers will likely become hooked and clammer for the rest of Cameron’s work.
The story is by no means unique, but Jericho Quinn does not seek to be completely one of a kind. However, it is not only the handful of strong characters that keep the novel pushing forward so effectively, but the attention to detail and drawing the reader in from the get-go that strengthens the narrative. While Cameron places his protagonist in a situation that might breed something repetitive, the use of Alaska and its barren hinterland served as a unique approach, especially when venturing into field traumatic medicine and tactical sniper calculations, allowing the reader something new to digest. Add to that, Cameron has seen that the ISIS and Islamic terror cell is becoming overdone in thrillers and shifts his villain base over to the emerging (and re-discovered?) Russian criminal, who drives home ruthless hatred for capitalist America and new-found money to fund such act of significant damage. Surely there is something beneficial in that as the majority of writers continue to flog an idea developed fifteen years ago. Keeping some of the wonderful dialogue and unique settings for his novels, Cameron delivers another decent piece that should appease readers without lulling them into any form of repetitive normalcy.
Kudos, Mr. Cameron on another successful novel. Jericho Quinn has a lot to offer and you’ve left much to be discovered or expanded upon, when time permits.