Friday, December 21, 2007

Joe Bob Book Review: War Breaker by Jim DeFelice


There hasn't been a new review posted over on the Joe Bob Briggs site since the beginning of the year. Still they keep sending me books and I keep cranking out the reviews. I suppose there are worse ways to spend my free time.

Anyway, here's the latest.

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War Breaker by Jim DeFelice
Leisure Books
ISBN: 0-8439-4601-6

Michael O’Connell was framed and tossed from the CIA, when a mission he was on went badly. It doesn’t help to know where too many of the skeletons are hidden. Of course, when something happens half a world away, the Agency finds they need him again. While he’s not happy about it, O’Connell takes the mission and hopes that this time he’ll come out with enough money to get his flight charter business back in the air.

O’Connell knows the location of some specially modified B-50s in Pakistan. Secretly aided by the CIA, the Pakistan military can use these aircraft to deliver nuclear bombs to targets in India. When war breaks out between these two countries it’s up to O’Connell to stop them from being put to use, one way or another. With the aid of a Korean War veteran and pilot, the embittered James Greeley, the former agent quickly finds that his mission might not be as secret as he thought. Or, there could be another reason he was chosen and it might mean he and Greeley are as expendable as the aircraft.

While author DeFelice centers on the mission of O’Connell and Greeley, he also introduces us to characters on several sides of the conflict. Pakistani pilot Captain Syyid Khan, newly promoted just hopes to keep his fellow squadron members alive and be able to return to his fiancĂ©, until he is taken out of combat and sent on another mission. Lt. General Arjun Singh, a Sikh and commander of the Indian Third Army, sees the war as a chance to regain Lahore the ancestral capital of the Sikhs, now controlled by Pakistan, for his people. Princess Nizam, the current Pakistani Interior Minister, also sees something to be gained from the war, namely regaining her family’s traditional lands. Unfortunately, O’Connell is unaware of any of this, but events occur which affect the lives and goals of all of them.

DeFelice does a good job of introducing all of these characters, some with a bit more substance than others, but all realistic enough to carry the story. If anyone comes off as the “good guy” it is Khan who does what he does out of genuine love for his family, friends and country. Still it’s O’Connell’s tale for the most part and DeFelice keeps the reader guessing until the last couple of chapters if Michael will succeed. With the CIA, you never really do know whom you can trust.

Three stars
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