From the publisher:
Riveting! Escalating gang violence in Denver, Colorado, and in other large cities in the nation captures the attention of the first term President. He wants a solution, and he wants it NOW. Legislation would take years. The Director of Homeland Security suggests that the remedy to the deteriorating situation may be a highly classified program deep within the charter of the Federal Emergency Management Agency-FEMA, known as Annex K. This deep-black program, nicknamed STARDUST, would be executed beneath the heaviest cloak of utmost secrecy and without the knowledge or informed consent of Congress.
When the CIA sends Agent Dave McClure to Denver to investigate inexplicable lethal violence being waged with advanced military weaponry against organized street gangs, McClure discovers that what has been unleashed is a sinister solution far worse than the problem. He unearths a nightmarish plot to do much more than eliminate gangs in America – rather, an attempt to seize the military district of Washington and overthrow the federal government. McClure’s own life is now at especially high risk. The CIA must act quickly and with overwhelming force. The clock is ticking!
Remembering the series of motion pictures starring Charles Bronson about a self-appointed vigilante hunting criminals and executing them will provide a bit of background about Andrew Ceroni’s latest novel. The United States has reached a point at which criminal gangsters and gangs are running wild with no apparent means of controlling them.
A newly elected president calls a meeting of carefully selected advisors and has a group formed composed of highly skilled military. Their mission would be to hunt down and summarily execute gangs. No arrest, no trial, no hearings. When the group is activated, functioning crime does go down in certain areas of the country. The population is ecstatic about what is going on as it is apparent that this vigilante group is doing what the police cannot come to grips with due to the many regulations hindering their work.
Dave McClure, an agent with the CIA who has appeared in prior novels by Ceroni, is sent to investigate. He finds clues to a group of skilled warriors that are plotting to stage a coup and take over the U.S. government. He alerts his supervisors who begin to mobilize forces to go after them. McClure and his fellow agents begin work to find out where the group is hiding and what their plans include. The leadership of the rogue warriors includes a four-star U.S. Army general and does involve highly trained people. Yes, you guessed it, the group formed by the seemingly benevolent actions of the president has changed their course of action to now want to take over the country with them as the leadership.
McClure finds out where the rogue group is, and what they are planning and the CIA sets up a task force to thwart their plans. Along the way, McClure’s wife is threatened with kidnapping and being held to keep her husband from continuing with his plans.
The novel is easy to read, nothing strenuous to grasp, and a feel-good work for the readers. It’s an all-nighter due to the continuous action outlined and the interest of the reader to keep abreast of things. It would be easy to continue to look for and read future books by Ceroni and that is my recommendation after finishing this one.
NOTE: The main character in Special Means works for the CIA. He does domestic assignments. The CIA only handles overseas stuff. I know – but that’s where the author put him. Thanks for reading, Paul.
6/2020 Paul Lane
SPECIAL MEANS by Andrew Ceroni. Outskirts Press (April 18, 2020). ISBN: 978-1977225764. 342 pages.