Bloody Sunday (Dewey Andreas #8), by Ben Coes

Nine 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 publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

A fan of Ben Coes, I could not wait to get my hands on this latest Dewey Andreas thriller, which did not fall short in any way. After some of Dewey’s most harrowing experiences, he is ready to hang-up his gun and check out. The events surrounding the murder of his wife have proven to be too much for him and he dreams of nothing but life in the countryside. Trouble is, no one else seems to have that same dream for Dewey and hope he has a little more juice inside to run a few more ‘essential’ missions. When MI6 sends a top mission architect to the CIA, Jenna Hartford is somewhat bitter, but willing to try things on the other side of the Pond. Significant intel shows that the North Koreans have been stirring up the pot in the region with their nuclear testing and have a covert meeting planned in Macau with the Iranians. What these two American foes have to say and what plans might come for this remains unknown, but Hartford has an idea about how to extract it. Dewey is the key to its success, though he remains fixated on life after the Agency. A singlet persuasive chat changes his mind, if only for a time, and he agrees to make his way to the ‘Asian Las Vegas’, where the highest-ranking North Korean General awaits. While trying to execute a plan to force the news from the lips of the General, Dewey is struck with the same weapon and has only a short time to counteract the measure. The CIA learns a snippet of what North Korea has in store and it is nothing short of disaster, in a strike codenamed ‘Bloody Sunday’. Now, Dewey must try to stay alive and save himself before he can turn his attention to America, all while infiltrating the North Korean border, where spies and traitors are killed before breakfast. All eyes are on Dewey, as the countdown clock reaches its perilous final moments. Coes has done it again and brilliantly entertains readers in this fast-paced thriller sure to impress. Recommended for those who love the series and readers who cannot get enough political thrillers with an espionage twist.

I always look forward to a Ben Coes thriller, as I never know what to expect. Full of political and spy-based branch-offs, Coes always injects just the right amount of dry wit and suspense to keep me coming back. In the early stages of the book, the reader sees some interesting happenings inside North Korea and a flame lit under its dictator with a plan to finally strike on US soil. Counter that with Dewey Andreas, who is hellbent on avenging the life of his wife, and the story could not get more intense if it tried. Andreas has long be a rogue character, none more than at this point in time. He is fuelled by revenge and wants nothing more than to strike at the heart of those who have wronged him. However, he still has a little something left in him and Coes portrays his protagonist as being steel-willed to the very end, making moves that few could expect to work. The introduction of Jenna Hartford has its own interesting spins, though the reader will have to take the time to see what Coes has in store for her. She is surely an interesting addition to to series and, should she remain, could prove interesting. The handful of secondary characters add flavour to an already spicy novel and allows the reader to feel in the middle of the action. The story is great, though the nuclear threat is by no means a new theme in the genre. However, Coes goes about it in a wonderful manner and portrays both the North Koreans and Americans in a light I have not seen. The intensity of the narrative and the action build within it to reach the climax is wonderful and keeps the reader guessing and hoping. As an unrelated aside, those who have read the short story that Coes released ahead of this novel, Shooting Gallery, may notice that this novel (#8), actually precedes the short story (labelled as #7.5) from a chronological point of view. Both stories run independently to one another, so there is no risk of spoilers, but I did notice that early on and promised to put it into my review. There is never a lack of excitement when Coes at the wheel and I can only hope that more novels are in the works, even with a different character base after the North Korean fallout.

Kudos, Mr. Coes, for a stunning addition to the series. I am addicted and cannot wait to see what else you have in store for your fans.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: