cover image Without Sanction

Without Sanction

Don Bentley. Berkley, $27 (384p) ISBN 978-1-9848-0511-9

In Bentley’s predictable debut and series launch, Matt Drake, an agent for the Defense Intelligence Agency, goes off the rails after a disastrous mission to Aleppo, Syria, that leaves him with PTSD, a buddy horrifically wounded, and a Syrian family dead. He has zero interest in returning to Syria, but of course he does, to undertake an important mission: extracting a chemical weapons expert who is believed to have created a particularly effective new poison. Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., just a few days before the presidential election, a covert CIA-led mission goes sideways, and President Jorge Gonzales’s chief of staff, Peter Redman, doesn’t want bad headlines to hurt Gonzales’s reelection chances. Redman’s subsequent damage control interferes with Drake’s mission. Caught in the middle, Drake does exactly what the reader expects and soldiers on with a mixture of machismo and jingoism. The exciting combat scenes and the military-technology detail will appeal to Tom Clancy fans. However, Bentley will have to come up with a more original plot next time if he’s to compete in the crowded military action genre. [em]Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Agency. (Mar.) [/em]