Select one of the keywords
Without Mercy    by David Hunt & R. J. Pineiro order for
Without Mercy
by David Hunt
Order:  USA  Can
Forge, 2017 (2017)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's a gripping and rather terrifying thriller, Without Mercy by Colonel David Hunt and R. J. Pineiro. It postulates a horrific scenario that recent news unfortunately makes more probable than it ever was before ... the acquisition - and use - of nuclear weapons - by ISIS. The story moves at top speed throughout.

The twist on this tale is that Pakistan is involved, all the way up to its head of government (who agreed on the basis that his country's role remain secret). High level Pakistani intelligence officer Atiq Gadai runs the operation, which begins with a nuclear attack on an American base in Afghanistan, Bagram Airfield. This is quickly followed by a nuclear explosion in New York's Battery Park.

From then on, readers follow many plot threads. Newly elected President Laura Vaccaro, a veteran combat pilot, quickly moves into crisis mode and sets up a covert group with direct communication to her immediate subordinates. It's led by FBI Special Agent Monica Cruz, a female Jack Bauer on steroids, and Colonel Hunter Stark's Special Forces team, which includes Monica's ex-lover, sniper Ryan Hunt.

On the other side, Pakistani intelligence agent Salma Bahmani and her team take a tortuous route to shepherd another bomb to Washington. Intel on them is desperately needed before WW III erupts. Fortunately another Pakistani intelligence agent, Gadai's daughter Maryam reveals what she learns of her father's plan to CIA agent Bill Gorman. They struggle together to survive the aftermath and the U.S. retaliatory strike on Pakistan.

It's an engrossing read, though I do have a big problem with its underlying assumption (reminiscent of 24) that the end justifies almost any means. It would make a powerful action movie but I really hope that everything here stays fictional. For the JFK quote at the beginning says it all: 'We will not prematurely or unnecessarily risk the costs of a worldwide nuclear war in which even the fruits of victory would be ashes in our mouth.'

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews