Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Review: The Jakarta Plot

Despite the fact that the Joe Bob Briggs site hasn’t posted a new review for well over a year, I’m still finishing up the books I have. There should be three more after this one, I believe, but at this point I think I may have lost track of which books JB sent me and those I’ve picked up at cons.

While I’m at it I want to apologize again for posting so seldom but I have listed the reasons before. Hope you will forgive me and drop by every so often to see if I have actually blogged.

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The Jakarta plot – R. Karl Largent; published by Leisure Books
ISBN: 0843945680

When you read these books you have to wonder how many ex-CIA agents are running around. Also, why does it seem the Agency always has to bring them back in to perform actions the current crop can’t seem to accomplish? I’m just asking.

Largent’s book is quite good, even though his hero, former agent Gideon Stone does seem to question himself a bit more than necessary. Stone is likable and I’m assuming that Largent will be bringing him back, if he hasn’t already (as the book was published back in 2006). One of the weaker elements is that some of the secondary characters, and there are dozens, never seem to really have any back-story, or any that we learn. We feel sympathy for them when they are injured or killed, but that’s because of how it affects Stone and not because we genuinely care about them. An odd thing is that this is truer of members of Stone’s team than of individuals on the opposing side. For instance, we know more about a native crewmember on a barge, used in a later mission, than we do about several servicemen who accompany Stone on his first rescue attempt.

When a group of Communist terrorists capture and hold captive U.N. delegates of an international meeting on the island of Java, including the U.S. Vice-President, the CIA is asked to attempt a rescue, while not admitting it publicly. Led by the popular Bojoni Sawak, the Bandung rebels demand that the current leader of their country step down and recognize the Bandung as the legitimate government, otherwise, the hostages will be executed one by one. With Stone already in the area, working to recover some documents lost when a civilian airliner is blown up, it’s an easy move to have him head up the assignment. Since he is an expert diver and former black op, you know that the ultimate rescue will involve at least some of those skills. When the initial attempt goes badly wrong, leading to the death of two of the group and the VP still hostage, the stakes rise. Stone has to get his team into the terrorist base, perform his mission and get everybody out alive. Complicating matters is the threat by China that any overt American intervention would be considered a provocative action and might lead to that country becoming involved.

As is typical of this type of book, Largent brings in a lot of technical information on the equipment Stone and his team uses. Interesting to a point, but it does make this reader skim over paragraphs of this stuff in order to get to the main action. If you are more into this Tom Clancy sort of thing and especially if you are interested in deep-sea vehicles and helicopters you might want to tack a half-star onto this. Overall I give this a solid -

Three stars
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