cover image Drone Command

Drone Command

Mike Maden. Putnam, $27 (352p) ISBN 978-0-399-17398-1

Maden’s uneven third Troy Pearce novel (after 2014’s Blue Warrior) focuses on the dispute between the Japanese and the Chinese over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Former CIA operative Troy, now the CEO of the world’s premier drone security company, Pearce Systems, is attempting to persuade the Japanese government to invest in a drone system to protect against a Chinese attack. Meanwhile, former U.S. president Margaret Myers, a close friend of Troy’s, is in Japan trying to de-escalate the conflict. The Chinese, who are debating whether to declare war on Japan, have come up with a game-changing weapon, the unstoppable Wu-14 missile that can take out an American aircraft carrier. The brief periods of excitement are effective, but a long backstory, the romance between Troy and Margaret, and many references to earlier novels slow down the action and keep this entry in a worthy military thriller series from really going nuclear. [em]Agent: David Hale Smith, Inkwell Management. (Oct.) [/em]