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Prodigal Avenger

Prodigal Avenger: A Story of the Secret War in Afghanistan by [Moynihan, Tim]

Jake Drecker, a special operator, pursues a mission across country borders to neutralize a terrorist cell, which may be holding an American missionary hostage. When Jake’s boss, Lt. Colonel Mike Sanchez, wonders at Drecker’s insistence and the CIA’s apparent carelessness for his and his team’s safety. The mystery of motivations and history of the missionary begins to settle in for both men. As the rescue operation becomes more and more dangerous, Drecker and Sanchez begin to believe that they may have bitten off more than they could chew.

Military thrillers are always ripe with adventure and thrilling pacing, yet Tim Moynihan’s Prodigal Avenger, seems to subvert his trope. His style is crisp and light and sails over the narrative with ease. There are plenty of nitty-gritty details and numerous mentions of military jargon to please even the most extensive army aficionados. Set in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the setting is immediately visceral and relevant, given the extensive USA presence there in the last 18 years, although Moynihan avoids labeling or commenting on the political foibles that led to the conflict. The mentions and reflections of faith were unexpected, but felt surprisingly welcome, especially in the face of such dire circumstances.

Drecker and Sanchez play off one another quite well and give an almost classic “brothers in combat” that is present in most military dramas, yet Moynihan plays his hand slightly closer to his chest by not allowing either man to be too intimate to the reader. This keeps us at a distance when observing the violence and chaos that occurs throughout the story. There is special attention to show how in war, black and white isn’t clear and that no one is purely at fault nor innocent in war. That kind of appreciation for warfare is rare in these sorts of patriotic, Americanized thrillers and Moynihan must be commended for his discerning prose.

The only fault I found in this book would be the loose ends. Considering how complex and confusing the operation becomes over time, this is no surprise, but the careful narrative never becomes overtly twisted so as to confuse the reader further. The loose ends otherwise will have us begging for answers and one can hope that Prodigal Avenger does not leave Drecker and Sanchez behind.

Any reader of military thrillers or military adventures stories surrounding the Middle East would be well served by reading these.

Pages: 248 | ASIN: B07KX5K894

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