Active Measures (Jericho Quinn #8), by Marc Cameron

Eight stars

Marc Cameron returns with another novel in the Jericho Quinn series, sure to impress those who have followed from the beginning, as well and new and curious readers. Mixing some new locales and an interesting thrill angle, Cameron succeeds again at impressing his reading core. When a family of Cuban nationals arrives in South Florida, they come with a dire warning about an imminent attack geared towards the United States. Jericho Quinn receives word of this and agrees to make his way down to see what’s going on. A secret operative for Homeland Security, Quinn gathers his usual crew, only to discover that his Florida contact has been murdered. Quinn realises that they will have to sneak into Cuba to see the extent of the threat. This will allow Veronica ‘Ronnie’ Garcia to return to her place of birth and contact some family members, while also helping diffuse any situation. While Quinn seeks to do some reconnaissance work, Ronnie visits her aunt, only to discover that she has a half-sister about whom she knew nothing. While this shock resonates, she tries to learn a little more about the threat that had them visit this communist country. Jericho appears hard pressed to learn about what’s going on, finding himself on the wrong side of Cuban law when his undercover situation is blown. Quinn is held in a Cuban prison and treated to their ‘best’ antics, which is sure to make any incarceration in American seem like a five star hotel. Meanwhile, a ruthless Cuban general has plans to resurrect Cuba’s strength in the region and goes to far lengths to ensure the annihilation of America, in Castro’s honour. With Quinn being used as a human punching bag and Ronnie questioning what other secrets her parents kept from her, the future of America hangs in the balance. There is no time to ask questions, all while doing this under the radar, with the world oblivious. Marc Cameron showcases some wonderful new ideas in this series that remains top of its game. Recommended to those who have long enjoyed Jericho Quinn’s adventures, as well as the reader who enjoys new angles in the thriller genre.

I have long enjoyed Marc Cameron’s solo work, which explores interesting aspects of the thriller genre. He’s always eager to put his protagonist in interesting situations that are sure to keep the reader highly entertained. Jericho Quinn has been around for a while, long enough to have left much of his backstory in past novels. He is a great operative in his own right, but still finds himself rushing ahead and making some poor decisions, including landing in the Hotel Havana for a time. Others, both recurring and new characters help to flesh out this fast moving piece. Of great interest is the family angle for Ronnie Garcia. Both Cameron’s introduction of this new sister angle and some time with other family, Garcia’s character receives a breath of fresh air, while leaving the door open for new and exciting character development in the future. With numerous plot angles, these characters propel the narrative forward and keeps the reader intrigued. In a series that has moved through some domestic terrorism, Cameron pushes his characters outside of America to help solve a crime of chilling proportions. A mix of short and longer chapters keep the reader wanting to know more as the narrative takes many tangential paths that enrich the larger story. While some readers found this less than their ideal novel, I suspect them dove in too late to fully appreciate the series and its wonderful nuances. I look forward to what else Cameron has for the reader in the years to come!

Kudos, Mr. Cameron, for another stellar piece in this ever-evolving series. Always impressed when authors can remove themselves from traditional plots while keeping the story current.

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

The Triple Frontier (Jericho Quinn #7.6), by Marc Cameron

Seven stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Marc Cameron, Kensington Books, and Pinnacle for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

In his latest novella, Marc Cameron brings Jericho Quinn back for another high-octane adventure, this time way out of his comfort zone. The Triple Frontier—the area where the sovereign states of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay converge—is extremely dangerous. Drug running and human smuggling are common, creating a zone where the authorities have all but stopped trying to enforce the law. Bo Quinn is down in the region with a group of rich Americans to ride their motorcycles around the country. While travelling one morning, they are ambushed by a group of locals, though Bo is able to activate his SOS and GPS beacons before being tossed into the back of a van and led away. Back in America, Bo’s older brother, Jericho, receives word that the beacon has been activated, but cannot raise his sibling over the phone. Panicked, Jericho prepares to make his way down to South America, though his close friends will not let him go alone. On a rescue mission, Jericho prepares to head into the unknown, though is promised the help of a local when he arrives. Meanwhile, a ransom note comes in, seeking $3 million, only to be trumped by another offer of five million. Could rival cartels be using Bo and his clients as pawns in a larger battle? By the time they reach the Triple Frontier, Jericho and his entourage realise that this is one mission that will not end peacefully. When an unexpected individual shows up to offer Jericho added support, the mission takes on an entirely different flavour. Jericho forges ahead into the unknown in hopes of trying to clean up the mess that is this hostage situation without alerting the formal authorities. Faced with kidnappers who have nothing to lose and seek a major payday, the end result is anything but predictable. Cameron provides an entertaining addition to the Jericho Quinn series that fans of the collection will surely enjoy as they wait for the next full-length book.

Marc Cameron has done well crafting the Jericho Quinn series over the past numbers of years. While he has taken on some additional series work elsewhere, fans of the novels have been biding their time with some novellas, though their quality remains at the highest calibre. While much attention has been spent on Jericho and his interesting backstory, Cameron has only recently shed any light on the life of the younger Quinn, Bo. In this piece, the reader is able to see just how resilient Bo can be when faced with trouble, cool under pressure and ready to fight for what he feels is right. As the premise of the piece is an intense rescue mission, Jericho is still able to take centre stage in this story and does so, showing a compassionate side when it comes to protecting his family. Some of the secondary characters on both sides are able to keep the attention focused on the fast pace of the rescue mission, adding interesting flavours to the narrative. The story remains a ‘cookie cutter’ effort to save those who are being held captive, but it is the way in which Cameron approaches the story and how he is able to inject some much-needed humour into the dialogue to lighten the mood. With a narrative that clips along, the reader is swept up in this novella that has as much action as any of the stories that Cameron has published to this point. That being said, I eagerly await something longer in the near future.

Kudos, Mr. Cameron, for this entertaining piece. I can always count on something interesting and full of adventure when you write.

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

Dead Drop (Jericho Quinn #7.5), by Marc Cameron

Eight stars

Marc Cameron is back with a short story/novella addition to the Jericho Quinn series, with a summer-themed piece perfect for the beach. After a harrowing meeting with POTUS, Jericho Quinn and Jacques Thibodaux have agreed to take their respective families to the Buccaneer Beach Thrill Park, home of the Dead Drop waterslide. Soon after arriving, an explosion rocks the Park, leaving many hurt and thousands fleeing for cover. Separated from their loved ones, Quinn and Thibodaux seek to neutralize the situation in an intelligent and tactical manner, while also learning as much as they can about the perpetrators. It would appear that a group of teenagers fuelled by religious zeal has turned the Park into a terror zone, but for what reason? As time slowly advances, Quinn must find his daughter before she is injured in the crossfire, but there are many more who rely on his fast thinking. Led by a young man with nothing to lose, this terror cell hopes to cause as much havoc before the authorities arrive. However, no one thought to tell Quinn and Thibodaux of this little beach party. A worthwhile standalone for the curious reader, but also highly enjoyable for those who have long been fans of Cameron and his fearless Jericho Quinn.

Marc Cameron is always on his game when writing about Jericho Quinn. While the genre is super-saturated with men (and women) ready to save the world one gunfight at a time, there is something about Quinn that individualises him. It might be that every story is strongly weighted with a family aspect, which occurs in this piece as Cameron allows both Quinn’s family (daughter, Mattie, and girlfriend Veronica ‘Ronnie’ Garcia) and members of the Thibodaux collective (sons Shawn and Dan, alongside wife, Camille) to play more than a wallflower role. There is little room for character development between Jericho and Jacques, but the reader is able to learn a little more about some of the aforementioned characters. Additionally, there is the handful of ‘terrorists’ who play villain roles in the story. I am of two minds about this depiction. Cameron has fallen into the stereotype of Muslim extremists (front and centre in the aforementioned super-saturated genre), but does take a step back and inject some blowback when certain passing characters make blatant generalizations about Muslims or Arabic people. It is here that Cameron at least partially redeems himself, perhaps trying to step away from the ‘Muslim as whipping boy’ mentality that has been overused at least since September 13, 2001. The summer theme of the story is perfect and brings even more realism tied to its release. Now then, I have had my Quinn fix, though I am not sure I can wait until February, though I will have to try. 

Kudos, Mr. Cameron for another jam-packed thriller. I can only guess what else you have up your sleeve for the next novel.