A gripping, hard-to-put-down spy thriller…
The debut installment of Jacuzzi’s Dalton Drake series is a top-notch conspiracy thriller that is crammed with high-tech spycraft, international intrigue, romantic entanglements, and poignant emotional stakes. When weapons-grade nuclear materials left over from the Cold War surface in a North African city, Dalton Drake, former CSIS agent and lethal field operator, is assigned to track down the terrorist group. Drake unites with a coalition of intelligence agencies, military branches, and the scientific community to locate the dangerous criminals. With an old enemy rising from the dead and becoming involved in the nefarious scheme, Drake realizes the time is of essence. Soon, the team’s dangerous pursuit sets the stage for a cat-and-mouse game that takes them from the north Atlantic, through the streets of Algiers, to a former US air force base in Morocco, to Montenegro and Croatia before their ultimate naval and air confrontation in the Adriatic. Jacuzzi’s detailed research about the shadowy world of espionage and spycraft lends authenticity to the story, and his storytelling is top-notch. Plenty of action and many taut moments keep the readers invested. He gives his characters a lot of room to move and grow. Drake is a savvy, highly capable, and flawed hero. He is essentially a ladies’ man and is happy being single. But from time to time, he struggles with his desire to settle down with a permanent partner and have a family. Jacuzzi skillfully delves into Drake’s intriguing backstory, taking readers to Cold War Berlin, the place where Drake’s espionage career began. His eventual meeting with Ethan is a remarkable scene. Determined and capable Baker, who has no desire to prove herself in the largely male world of military intelligence, remains an endearing protagonist. With her unshakeable devotion to her cause and essentially detached attitude, the coolly malign Farhad makes for an intimidating antagonist. Jacuzzi’s crisp, assured prose skillfully offers the reader a window into her inner dark psyche. Vivid and fully-fleshed out, the secondary cast is equally compelling. A torrent of exhaustively observed detail—inclusion of real-life historical events, advanced, top-graded weaponry, the dangerous, highly elusive world of military intelligence—give it authenticity. Underneath, though, the story is straightforward: the fight between good versus evil. Readers will find themselves guessing about what’s really going on right up to the heartfelt ending. This breakneck-paced thriller is absolutely addictive, and readers will eagerly await Drake’s next adventure.
Blackwater: A Dalton Drake Novel
Paul Vincent Jacuzzi