cover image Unit 416

Unit 416

J. Leon Pridgen II and A. John Vinci. St. Martin’s Griffin, $16.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-08997-7

Pridgen (Color of Justice) teams with filmmaker Vinci on this so-so homage to the war movie The Dirty Dozen. Special Forces Master Sgt. Miles Keeble, who sustained career-ending injuries in Afghanistan while on the hunt for Taliban arms dealer Anemah Maasiq, gets the chance to continue his military service by training an unusual group of soldiers—former criminals who chose conscription over incarceration—for an undercover mission to disrupt the flow of stolen weapons entering the international black market. In the overlong section on their training, Keeble whips the reprobates of Army Special Missions Unit 416 into fighting shape. Five get through the training, and he leads them into Uzbekistan to tangle with Maasiq. Instead of truly bad men earning a last-ditch shot at redemption, the men of Unit 416 are misunderstood petty criminals, who began their rehabilitation with enlistment. Their lawlessness seems little more than window dressing, and any personality the characters had as ex-convicts becomes dulled by their transformation into generic warriors who might be deemed the cleaned-up half-dozen. [em]Agent: Sara Camilli, Sara Camilli Agency. (July) [/em]