cover image An Act of Treason: A Sniper Novel

An Act of Treason: A Sniper Novel

Jack Coughlin with Donald A. Davis, St. Martin's, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-61201-6

At the start of Coughlin and Davis's intricate, well-crafted fourth Sniper novel (after Clean Kill), Taliban fighters capture two U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and cut off the head of a third, later posting a "gruesome little movie" of the beheading on the Internet. When Taliban commander Muhammed Waleed arranges with Jim Hall, a legendary CIA operative with whom Waleed worked against the Soviets, to take revenge on the killers, Hall selects his friend and former student, Marine Gunnery Sgt. Kyle Swanson, for the mission. But what Gunny Swanson doesn't know is that Hall, soon to retire, can't stand the thought of being shuffled off into insignificance, and he sets up Swanson to create a crisis that will allow Waleed to seize control of the Pakistani government while Hall blackmails the CIA into a luxurious retirement. Coughlin vividly contrasts the ethos of combat soldiers who never leave a buddy behind with the narcissistic CIA culture. (Mar.)