cover image Shadow


James Swallow. Forge, $28.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-31879-4

In bestseller Swallow’s formulaic, overly complex fourth Marc Dane thriller (after 2020’s Ghost), the “ex-MI6 field agent turned private security specialist” partners with Lucy Keyes, a former Delta Force recon sniper. Both Marc and Lucy work for enigmatic billionaire Ekko Solomon, the CEO of the Rubicon Group, which Solomon has made “an exemplar of ethical capitalism.” The trouble begins when the Rubicon board of directors accuses Solomon of not keeping in check the company’s clandestine band of vigilante-mercenaries, which includes Marc and Lucy. Meanwhile, the Combine, a cabal of rich white men, has broken Noah Verbeke out of custody from the Belgian Federal Police, and Verbeke, whose skin is covered with tattoos of “fascist iconography of all kinds,” has retaken his place as the leader of a far-right racial-supremacist group. In addition, the Combine is just days away from launching a deadly virus against the world. Uncertainty about whether Marc and Lucy’s relationship is strictly business or something more adds some romantic tension. Stock characters, off-the-shelf plot devices, and constant references to past books put this one solidly in the middle of a very large playing field. Series fans, though, should be satisfied. (Aug.)