Reviewer Dr. Wesley Britton: Dr. Britton is the author of four non-fiction books on espionage in literature and the media. Starting in fall 2015, his new six-book science fiction series, The Beta-Earth Chronicles, debuted via BearManor Media. For seven years, he was co-host of online radio’s Dave White Presents where he contributed interviews with a host of entertainment insiders. Before his retirement in 2016, Dr. Britton taught English at Harrisburg Area Community College. Learn more about Dr. Britton at his WEBSITE
Author: Jeremy DeConciniSold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
In previous reviews of Jeremy DeConcini’s three Ben Adams novels, some readers have observed similarities with Tom Clancy thrillers. Others note comparisons with John MacDonald’s Travis McGee. I concur on both counts.
I often thought of Clancy during the first quarter or so of Late Apex. That’s because of the layered structure where author DeConcini introduced all of his major players in their various international settings in alternating descriptive passages. Then, I forgot all about Clancy when DeConcini focuses on his primary protagonist, Ben Adams, and it’s hard not to think of McGee, even if Adams is far more West Coast in his tastes and interests.
Ben Adams is a former FBI agent who spent time in jail for accidently killing a DEA agent. His new quest is to stay out of prison while enjoying surfing, drinking beer on the beach, hanging with his dog Geronimo, and watching motorcycle races. But the FBI, in the person of Howard Goodman, wants Adams to go undercover and he best comply to keep his freedom. He must help the Department of Homeland Security stop ISIS from getting key trigger devices for a nuclear weapon. This means he must infiltrate the inner circle around Giancarlo Trentino, the head of an U.S. defense contractor more interested in profits than potential global consequences. Or, at least, that’s what we are led to believe.
By the last third of the novel, few readers will be thinking of Travis McGee anymore but might instead think of other novelists like Geoffrey Jenkins or Peter Vollmer who know the South African terrain intimately, especially writers who know the means to survive when nature and various groups of killers are after you. In this long, vivid, and very exciting section of the book, Adams is very much on his own, encountering a series of surprising allies and mysterious adversaries. I must admit, the conclusion is rather abrupt and there are unresolved matters left dangling. So a fourth book might be in the offing, despite the series being described as a trilogy?
As is often the case for such thrillers, the verisimilitude comes from the author’s personal experience like DeConcini’s tenure as a Special Agent for the Department of Homeland Security. Thus, his use of interdepartmental conflicts rings perfectly true. In addition, his focus on the quirky and very individualistic Adams and Adams’ race from those out to get him keeps the novel from following familiar formulas.
In short, I can easily recommend Late Apex to anyone who likes entertaining thrillers with a very personal focus. Character matters even in an extremely fast-paced story full of surprises and clever twists. It’s the sort of book that encourages me to want to read the two books that preceded it and hope that dangling conclusion isn’t the end of the saga.