Pros: Plenty of tension and complex escapades
Cons: A little all-over-the-place
Rating: 4 out of 5
The Lost Codex (The OPSIG Team Black Series) bridges Alan Jacobson’s OPSIG Team Black series and his Karen Vail series. (I’ve only read one of the latter–Spectrum–and none of the former until now, but hey, that happens when you review books.) There were frequent references to a previous story, but while it was mildly confusing, it wasn’t a huge deal to not have that background. In this edition, Karen goes on a black op with a couple of people she knows, in order to take down some terrorists and retrieve an artifact that could have huge repercussions on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It doesn’t help that it seems that different parts of the US government want different things done with the artifact.
The phenomenon of suicide bombers comes up a lot in this story, and although there’s a bit of an infodump here, I found it fascinating enough to not mind it. There’s plenty going on in the US, but our heroes end up chasing the codex through a handful of other countries and regions. It was a bit head-spinning; I’m sure it was done for the realism of it, but I admit I got a little lost for a bit trying to remember which country they were in and what exactly they were chasing there.
Most of my knowledge of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict comes from the internet (I have friends who feel exceedingly strongly about each side of the issue, so often the bits I know conflict, just to make things more confusing). Anyway, I bring this up because I am utterly unable to render any kind of judgment on how accurately the book handles that conflict. I love how it gets into the Aleppo Codex, though; it really is fascinating, and it’s neat to see how it could affect things very differently depending on who gets their hands on it. I also think it’s great that there’s plenty of conflict going on–and a lot of danger–that’s not directly about the Codex.
Karen herself gets into some awfully sticky situations, as do her co-workers. Life and death situations come up repeatedly, and Karen has to do things she’s never dealt with before. It makes her a great point-of-view character through which to experience this.
This may not be the best thriller I’ve ever read, but I did enjoy it and would be willing to read more from the author.
NOTE: Book provided free for review by publisher