cover image The Outside Man

The Outside Man

Don Bentley. Berkley, $27 (400p) ISBN 978-1-9848-0514-0

Bentley’s disappointing sequel to 2020’s Without Sanction pits former Defense Intelligence Agency operative Matt Drake, who’s living with his wife in Austin, Tex., against an old nemesis known as the Devil, a ruthless crime lord profiting from the chaos in Syria and Iraq. After an assassination attempt in broad daylight on the streets of Austin, Drake—still suffering from PTSD and struggling to find a sense of normalcy in his life—attempts to locate the Devil to enact vengeance. In his search, he stumbles across a sex trafficking operation run by the Middle Eastern crime boss and vows to kill him and free the enslaved women. Drake embarks on a predictable mission filled with nonstop action replete with techno jargon and an irritatingly machismo fueled POV. The casual xenophobia (“Time to fuck up some Iranians”) and stereotypical treatment of most of the female characters (the female Air Force pilot’s call sign is “Pom Pom”) will strike some readers as outdated and cliché. Still, action thriller fans may want to check this one out. [em]Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Agency. (Mar.) [/em]