terrorism

“The 14th Protocol” by Nathan A. Goodman

 

book-cover-the-14th-protocol

In “The 14th Protocol,” Cade Williams is a skilled computer geek and the admin for the largest email service provider in North America, Thoughtstorm. Williams is called to the mysterious 17th floor to fix what looks like a systems crash, alarms sound, he finds the problem with a minute to go, but is told NOT to fix it. Williams wonders what was really going on.


A college friend, Kyle MacKerron, is graduating from the FBI Academy and Williams goes to the ceremony, then shares his concerns about his odd work day. Kyle tells him to follow his gut and look into it. A series of bombings have occurred across the country and the severity and body count ramps up with each new attack. The FBI is investigating and Jana Baker, a rookie recruit, happens to get the assignment that leads her to the Thoughtstorm building.

 

Thoughtstorm is so security conscious that bulletproof glass protects the first eight floors of the building, and rotating digital codes are used to gain access to the different floors and work areas. What kind of company needs all that? Probably not people that are sending out e-flyers for shopping coupons.
 

The email mystery in “The 14th Protocol” covers up something so sinister that the parties involved will do anything to keep it quiet. Williams, MacKerron, and Baker are brought together to expose the truth. And what a truth it is. Nathan Goodman has penned a riveting look at what can happen when high stakes secret operations step outside the bounds of common sense. Just because we can do a thing, should we?

 

The players in Goodman’s book are intense, the action non-stop, and there are plenty of surprises along the way. The Cade Williams character hits all the right notes of a computer savvy guy, facing abject fear at being caught up in something outside his normal realm of experience, yet willing to help stop what’s happening.


The issues of privacy are raised as an aside to the action in the book. It’s fairly unsettling that someone with Cade Williams’ kind of clearance can also read the content in your  emails. This concern has been raised repeatedly while our real-life law enforcement agencies pursue terrorists and other criminals. There are pros and cons to the arguments and Goodman handles them as his absorbing tale of spies and villains unfolds.

 

There is a certain amount of tech speak in “The 14th Protocol,” but Goodman presents the information clearly and simply. We know as real-time email users that too many emails going out at once will crash the server when spammers run amuck or systems overload during a major world event. These days, there are redundancy systems in place for backups in case one goes down or needs some updating. A person like Williams anticipates surges and makes sure the system works smoothly. What could go wrong?


Pay attention to current events and you might be convinced that parts of the storyline are ripped from the headlines. I have to admit that more than one scene in “The 14th Protocol” was so intense that the book has left an indelible impression.

 

Please visit www.nathanagoodman.com for information about Mr. Goodman's other books of edge-of-your-seat suspense.  🙂
 

*Contains frequent adult language.

 

 

“American Assassin” by Vince Flynn

 

Book Cover - American Assassin

 

Vince Flynn’s “American Assassin,” Mitch Rapp, is not a suave, smooth-talking spy. He is a twenty-three year old, non-skirt-chaser, non-political, All-American lacrosse player who has never been in the military.

 

Ian Fleming and Hollywood gave us James Bond and glamorized the life of a spy, interweaving assassinations with hot cars, cool guns, and fast women. However, the tuxedo wearing, Baccarat playing, former Navy Commander rarely had a hair out of place, even when being tortured. Bond had the full force of the British Secret Service behind him, including military backup and impossibly cool gadgets with which to work whenever he got into a jam. 007 was the embodiment of MI6 and was staunchly patriotic. Those characteristics appeared to be the standard by which all other spies in books, on TV, and in the movies were measured.

 

So how does Mitch Rapp qualify to become an assassin? How is he turned into an efficient human killing machine? What motivates him to do the job?

 

He is recruited. An assistant to the CIA Director of Operations sees something in Rapp that could change the direction of a CIA in disarray after many intelligence failures. The CIA needs to take the fight to the enemy instead of merely reacting to events, and Rapp may be just the one to do it.

 

Mitch Rapp, at the beginning of his career in “American Assassin,” will not have the official backing of the CIA, and in an almost “Mission Impossible” style interview, is told that his very existence will be denied if he is caught doing his job overseas. He has guns, his mental agility, his physical skills, and a passport – not much else. Oh, and a training officer that doesn’t like him, calls him a ‘college puke’ and doubts that he is truly qualified to carry out any assignments. Sound like something you’d sign up for?

 

Flynn writes Rapp so convincingly that we buy it all. Why? Rapp agrees to take the job because of revenge, pure and simple. His girlfriend was killed in the Pan Am Lockerbie disaster and he wants to see the perpetrators dead. His ability is proven again and again as he puts up with what he considers the sham of his training, verbally challenging his so-called mentors and questioning his own motivation in the process.

 

After his first operation, Rapp looks in the mirror and realizes a killer is looking back at him. And, he’s okay with it.

 

Flynn explores the post-Lockerbie world and places it in historical context, so that the reader can recognize the global players in the intelligence community. The bad guys are varying shades of nasty, and the good guys/gals are complex, layered characters.

 

“American Assassin,” an intense page-turner that Flynn waited fifteen years to write, is a strongly political anti-terrorism thriller. In the book, an American businessman is kidnapped in Beirut, an operative goes in after him, then is captured as well. There are references to torture, to rendition, and to the Middle Eastern conflict.

 

Mitch Rapp is a character originated in “Transfer of Power,” published in 1999, the first of the thirteen Rapp books. “American Assassin” tells us how it all began for Rapp and is now listed as the first in the series.

 

Sadly, Vince Flynn passed away in 2013 at the age of 47 after a bout with cancer. His family, friends, and fans sorely miss him.

 

For more information about Vince Flynn, his body of work, and his charities, please visit www.vinceflynn.com