War Hawk
A Tucker Wayne novel by James Rollins and Grant Blackwood
Book review by Jules Brenner
Wm Morrow, released 4/19/16, 384 pp., $27.99
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Being tough, military-trained and experienced in dealing with cruel strongmen who have some form of world domination on their minds comes with the downside of being called upon when a difficult and terrible danger arises. Ex-Ranger Tucker Wayne wouldn't have it any other way and when ex-army flame Jane Sabatello suddenly appears after many years, clutching her son Nathan and announcing that they are on the run from unknown people who want to kill them, he's listening very carefully. She's there to also ask for his help in finding their mutual friend and her co-worker at Redstone Arsenal, Sandy Conlon.

He knows Sandy, who is a high-level mathematician and programmer working for the Defense Intelligence Agency on a top secret project that relates to the work of Alan Turing, the genius of World War II who helped defeat the nazis by breaking their enigma code. What is less known is that Turing also foresaw the wartime potentials of the computer in 1940 and Sandy was trying to advance his concepts to code the basis of a whole new, virtually undefeatable weapon system.

But, she hasn't been heard from for a month! And, she's one of three who'd gone missing in that time, with four more of her colleagues dead.

Tucker signs up for this mystery mission, for himself and his war dog, Kane. Together, they set out to find the missing woman and keep Jane and Nathan from harm.

But, someone with influence in high places and a team of killers to protect his investment, knew of Sandy's project and considered her the greatest threat to his plans to arm a fleet of drones with super electronics in a takeover plot.

The search leads Tucker and Kane all over the map, from his home in Montana to Maryland and to Trinidad and Tobago; from Alabama to Syria, being pulled into a battle that would pit them against a monstrous enemy who sees the use of drones as a means to conquer and defeat.

Pruitt Kellerman, head of Horizon Media, a man "known as a crusader for lasting peace in the Balkans" was using his Athens hotel to cover slipping away from a public meeting to secretly meet with a client: the president of Serbia, Marko Davidovich, to make a deal. Pruitt is offering weapons that will change the future of modern warfare to ensure Davidovich's deadly revenge on the people who killed his grandfather. In exchange, Kellerman will obtain the mining rights to a small strip of land with a potential only he knows.

As such deals go, they bring in their wake untold destruction and misery and depend on deceptions that are major parts of the secrecy game and the crux of Rollins and Blackwood's pulse-quickening geopolitical conspiracy thriller.

Rollins puts Tucker and his team through waves of danger, violence and adventure with all the action and diabolical villainy that a suspense reader is looking for. His addition of a heroic combat dog who understands multiple commands ("Grab and hold," "Elude and cover"), and acts upon them with understanding of strategy and fearless dedication in firefights and close combat may seem a stretch at some critical moments, but with Rollins' authoritative detail, you don't doubt the truth of what he's depicting for a second.

Dog lovers, attention!

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