Review: “Operation: Amazon,” William Meikle

Pros: Such fun little horror novels!
Cons: Minor details
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

William Meikle’s Operation: Amazon (S-Squad Book 4) is the fourth installment in this excellent military-vs-monsters series. Captain John Banks and his squad first dealt with giant undersea isopods in the Arctic, then Nazi ice zombies and UFOs in the Antarctic, enormous and aggressive ancient animals such as mammoths and cave lions in Siberia, and now giant snakes in the Amazon. Employees, some of whom are British engineers, have been going missing from a river-dredging operation, and the father of the boss has the connections to get government help. Thus, Banks and his squad get sent to find out what is quietly, unobtrusively, making off with these men. When Banks arrives, the natives who are helping with the operation take advantage of the opportunity to leave. Only Wilkes, the foreman, is left to help. The squad finds a phone belonging to the missing boss that has a brief video and some GPS data on it, and when the local with a boat returns, they head out to rescue him.

My only (very minor) quibble with this book is that we never really find out how the bad guys managed to get their victims out of their beds silently and without being noticed. There’s a hint that one of them may have been drugged, but there’s nothing about how that might have been accomplished.

There’s some great Mayan mysticism in here. Rumors of a snake god named Boitata abound, and there’s a cult of people who call themselves “the children of Boitata.” There are interesting local superstitions to deal with, mysterious stonework ruins, a temple, giant hungry snakes, and gold.

The characters, as usual, are drawn in short strokes that make for just enough depth. Banks is still trying to resist the cigarettes that everyone else indulges in so readily, and as always he has to keep Wiggins out of the booze. This time around we see our heroes get caught and stripped of their equipment, so they have to use more than just their guns to escape! There are some great action sequences, firefights, and so on. And it’s easy to love to hate Buller, the boss-man. I’m still very much enjoying this series!

“What are you moaning about this time, Wiggo? I promised you something warmer, didn’t I? It doesn’t get much hotter than this.”
“Warm shite is still shite,” Wiggins said.

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