Overwatch: A Logan West Thriller

Matthew J. Betley. Atria/Bestler, $26.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-4767-9921-6

Betley, a former Marine officer, draws on his battlefield experience for his rousing first novel. One morning in October 2008, ex-Marine Logan West awakes from an alcoholic stupor in his Annapolis, Md., home to find an intruder in his basement. Logan immediately realizes that the man is up to no good, and in the ensuing fight he manages to kill him. When Logan takes a call on the dead man’s cell phone, he learns from the person who answers, Juan, that the man was planning to kidnap him. Juan says he wants an Iraqi flag that Logan and his team acquired during a mission in Fallujah in 2004. Juan also threatens to harm Logan’s wife unless he cooperates. Soon Logan and his FBI special agent buddy, Mike Benson, are on the hunt for the bad guys. Betley writes a good fight scene and knows how to plot, but readers should be prepared for some awkward prose (“She was cemented to the carpet, transfixed by her horror”). Agent: Will Roberts, Gernert Company. (Mar.)