Targets of Revenge
by Jeffrey S. Stephens
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Gallery Books
Released: February 19, 2013
Source: Review copy from the publisher.
Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Orders from his boss forbidding any action won't stop CIA Agent Jordan Sandor when he’s hungry for revenge. He’s determined to assassinate Adina, the man responsible for planning a terrorist attack on America that left several dead in the effort to stop it.
Asking his friends to help him carry out his forbidden operation, he crash-lands in the heart of the Venezuelan jungle and infiltrates Adina’s camp. He discovers that the ruthless terrorist is smuggling a deadly substance into the United States that could cost tens of thousands of lives. Sandor follows his information to Egypt and then Moscow as he fights to prevent this disaster.
Targets of Revenge is a thriller novel. It was the third book in a series. I didn't need to read the previous books to follow this one, though I suspect I would have gotten more out of this book if I had. Also, much of the action in the previous books was spoiled in this one, so you may wish to read them in order.
The author did a good job of writing exciting, action-packed fights where it was easy to follow what was going on. Sandor was more a military rambo than sneaky spy. He got his information by holding a gun to people's heads. He was reckless, impulsive, and didn't follow orders (even those he gave) well. He always had to be in control of operations even if he technically shouldn't be giving orders or even involved. Even when Sandor acted as a spy, he didn't try hard to be believable so his enemies weren't fooled by his cover story. He always ended up having to fight his way out of danger.
I found that I didn't really care about the characters (except Romero, a minor character) because I knew nothing about them. Sandor's best friends existed merely to play backup to his plans. We're told nothing about Sandor's past or present beyond the current actions that he takes. We don't get inside his head to feel fear or anger--we can only tell his emotions by his words or actions (which never act afraid, so why should I be worried for him?). He seems to exist purely to run recklessly through the pages leaving dead behind him. He never paused to reflect, "Hey, there might be a better way to do things where fewer people end up dead."
There were no graphic sex scenes, but there was a little more description than kiss-and-fade-to-back in one case. There was a fair amount of explicit bad language, including in several languages beyond English. I'd recommend this novel to those who like independent, impulsive heroes who leave a high body count behind them, though I'd suggest starting at the beginning of this series.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
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