cover image Power Play

Power Play

Patrick Robinson. Perseus/Vanguard, $25.99 (324p) ISBN 978-1-59315-731-9

Last seen in 2009’s Diamondhead, Capt. Mackenzie “Mack” Bedford must thwart a Russian attempt to blow up the National Security Agency’s Maryland headquarters with nuclear missiles in this unconvincing military thriller set in 2018. Russian president Nikita Markova, a 74-year-old Stalinist nostalgic for the old Soviet Union, also plans to disable the U.S. president’s always handy “nuclear football” so the Americans can’t retaliate. To the rescue come Mack and his hardy SEAL Team 10 out of San Diego, which is tasked with intercepting and sinking a huge Russian freighter and its nuclear cargo in the North Atlantic before it can deliver the missiles to a Central American launch site. Robinson has never lacked in devising the skeleton for exciting plots, but his execution remains uninspired and mechanical. Stilted dialogue and an overall jingoistic tone may cause some readers to wince. Worse, his long, undisciplined commentary on historical events and military minutiae interfere at many of the most crucial points. (Nov.)