Larry Bond, Author, James DeFelice, Author, Jim DeFelice, Author . Forge $24.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-7653-0711-8

The troops of the small Special Ops force in this latest novel by Bond (Red Phoenix , etc.) spend about equal time bantering with each other and blowing up stuff: buildings, vehicles and even thugs who stand in their way. Aside from its inherent entertainment value (which is considerable), this is a good formula because it allows Bond and coauthor DeFelice to smoothly fold in an enormous amount of exposition and to introduce, over the course of a hundred or so short chapters, the individual members of Joint Services Special Demands Project Office, known to insiders as simply the Team, for the novel is the kickoff of a projected series about the new war on terror. Smooth, shrewd Bob Ferguson leads them, engineering their escape from a tricky trap in Kyrgyzstan early on. The MacGuffin: a planned meeting with Russian wheeler dealer Alex Sheremetev in Kyrgyzstan goes awry when Ferg finds Sheremetev's murdered corpse. Before you can say frameup , local police have arrested Team member Jack "Guns" Young (a Marine and language expert) for the crime. It's up to Ferg, Connors (the old man and explosives expert) and Rankin (the young hothead) to rescue Guns and find the real killer—and that's just for starters. Back in Washington, Corrine Alston, chief adviser to the new president, disdains the maverick modus operandi of the Team and Ferg in particular, so much so that she flies to Russia to confront and control him. Her slow journey from skeptic to supporter is the novel's most entertaining and mainstream plot thread, the reader on her shoulder as she's immersed in the rough and tumble adventures of the Team. This is a solid series debut. Agent, Robert Gottlieb at Trident Media Group . (May)

Reviewed on: 03/29/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
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