The Devil’s Hand (Terminal List #4), by Jack Carr

Nine stars

Jack Carr has developed a series that mixes captivating political intrigue with personal experiences working on the dark side of American covert missions. These novels not only force the reader to think about what’s going on around them, but also provides an exhilarating mission to keep the country safe from powerful enemies. While it has been two decades since the largest act of terror on US soil, few have forgotten. Some within the Administration want to ensure those responsible pay the ultimate price, feeling that the core planning group remains at large. A new threat is being developed, one that could cripple America once again. Will the country be ready and react, or remain hopeless once again? Carr proves that he’s one of the strongest writers in the genre.

After the attacks on September 11, 2001, America smouldered, but would not succumb. Twenty years of reflection and war on the enemy, showing their might, but also a means by which they plan, execute, and progress on the battlefield. This has not gone unnoticed by those who helped plan the previous attack, and it is high time for a new strike, one that no one will (again) see coming.

While the US has been trying to make sense of what happened those years ago, a new president emerges, with hopes of helping to heal and reset the direction into the future. However, he has ties of his own to September 11th and wants to take one more form of action before closing the book on this part of US history. James Reece, former Navy SEAL, is summoned to meet with POTUS and play a key role in eradicating a handful of men on US soil who plotted the attacks, but remained in the shadows.

While Reece is working to help his Commander-in-Chief, there are those within the US who see Reece as a loose cannon that mist be stopped,. Violating many of the rules and laws of American espionage, there are some who will do whatever they can to see Reece brought to justice for his actions and possibly neutralised. Still, it will take more than tattling to get it done effectively.

All the while, a diplomatic pouch makes its way into the United States and ends up in the hands of a young man. What’s inside will surely prove deadly if it falls into the wrong hands. A bioweapon that few knew existed could be unleashed with devastating effect and send America into a state of panic once more. Carr delivers a story that could so readily happen, making it all the more impactful.

While I enjoy counter-terrorism and espionage stories, they can sometimes be far-fetched or a tad over the top. In all four novels that Jack Carr has penned, none of them have been implausible, which makes the writing all the more worthy of notice. The ideas are strong, easily relatable, and full of action, forcing the reader to wonder ‘what if’ and ‘when’, rather than rest peacefully, knowing it is all guaranteed fiction.

James Reece is a wonderful protagonist in this piece, offering up some stellar one liners when the time is right. His backstory is less prominent in the novel, though there are still some flashbacks to substantiate what he is doing. His grit and determination are like no other and left me eager to see what he would do next. He is job-focussed, but shows a slight vulnerability when needed, adding depth to his character at the right time.

Carr writes in such a way that the reader cannot tell where the fiction ends and reality begins. Not only is this the sign of a great writer, but there is an disturbing sense of what might be intermingled with plot lines that add to their story. The narrative inched its way forward effectively, never giving the reader a reprieve from the action. The plot evolved well and seemed to take on a life of its own at just the right time. Mixing politics with espionage, Carr keeps the reader on their toes and wondering how to handle what’s been put before them. While not my usual reading fare, I could not put it down and am pleased that I took the time to read the latest in this series. Jack Carr is at the top of his game and others within the genre ought to take notice.

Kudos, Mr. Carr, for another winner. Keep it up and you will surely have many more fans admitting your work.

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