A Matt Drake Thriller, Book 1
From the publisher:
After surviving a clandestine operation that went tragically wrong, Matt Drake escaped Syria with his life, but little else. Now, to save the life of another, he must return to Syria and confront his biggest failure in a debut thriller Lee Child calls “sensationally good.”
Defense Intelligence Agency operative Matt Drake broke a promise. A promise that cost three people their lives and crippled his best friend. Three months later, he’s paralyzed by survivor’s guilt and haunted by the memories of the fallen. Matt may have left Syria, but Syria hasn’t left him.
In the midst of his self-imposed exile, Matt is dragged back into the world of espionage and assets that he tried to forget. A Pakistani scientist working for an ISIS splinter cell has created a terrifying weapon of mass destruction. The scientist offers to defect with the weapon, but he trusts just one man to bring him out of Syria alive—Matt Drake.
This is the first book in a new series featuring Matt Drake, a flawed hero, but one with the brains, patriotism and the will to get things resolved. In a mission taking place before the beginning of this novel, three men were killed and his best friend, also with them, was permanently crippled. Matt blames himself for the failure of the botched action.
After three months of feeling sorry for himself and drowning his sorrows, he is unexpectedly called back by his supervisor to undertake a mission into Syria. The task will be to extract a Pakistani scientist working for ISIS who has perfected a new and terrible chemical aimed at killing Americans. He has offered to bring the formula to the United States in payment of being taken out and granted asylum there. The condition put is that he wants Matt to handle the operation.
Matt undertakes the job after learning that an American agent, the only survivor of a raid into the area has been captured and will be beheaded by his captors with the execution filmed to be used as propaganda. There is also a background scenario that takes place in the White House. The president is facing reelection for a second term and there are two high-level officers of the government that are looking to control his actions to control events for their own benefit. The background action is a great piece of writing to underline the actual scheming, plotting and double-dealing that occurs in government circles. And of course, plans are laid, discarded and done again by the people working behind the scenes.
Unfortunately for Matt, the president and those on his high-level staff are playing off the rescue of the captured American in different ways in order to seek their own gain. Bentley does indeed have a low opinion of politicians and their maneuvering to bring themselves the greater good by just discarding the needs of those caught in their schemes.
Don Bentley has done a great job in building Matt’s character. He has his faults, his missteps, but in the final analysis, will do the right thing to protect lives and punish his enemies. An excellent beginning to what I trust will be an anticipated series based on well-described counter-terrorism operations.
3/2020 Paul Lane
WITHOUT SANCTION by Don Bentley. Berkley (March 3, 2020). ISBN: 978-1984805119. 384p.