cover image The Outlaws

The Outlaws

W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV, Putnam, $27.95 (432p) ISBN 978-0-399-15683-0

In Griffin and Butterworth's long and exceedingly detailed sixth presidential agent thriller (after Black Ops), the U.S. president has ordered Lt. Col. Carlos "Charley" Castillo to disband his secret organization, the Office of Organizational Analysis, and to "fall off the face of the earth." When the president dies of a ruptured aorta, Charley elects instead to reorganize his outfit. He soon becomes entangled in intrigue involving several barrels of virulent biological weaponry and a demand from Vladimir Putin to return the two Russian spies who defected in Black Ops. The new U.S. president, who hates Charley's guts, wants to turn him over to Putin along with the two defectors. Charley and his intrepid gang engage in meticulous planning, fill in the backstory, banter among themselves, and fly around in exotic planes. Series fans who love these characters will find the novel fulfilling; newcomers and those expecting a big payoff will be disappointed. (Jan.)