Member Reviews

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. It's an exciting thriller with well developed characters and a believable storyline that starts out with a bang and doesn't let up from there. I was surprised to learn this was the author's debut novel. I'm looking forward to reading her next book. Highly recommended!

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What I enjoyed most about this book was how quick and easy it was to read. There were no great and vast descriptions about everything, it was to the point and had no nonsense. The plot was good and I enjoyed the intricacies of espionage and the CIA which I usually don’t like in books. I did notice that the plot/mystery had a few holes in the story and seemed a bit far fetched. It also felt very rushed, which made the read quick but the story didn’t flow. Overall, I give it three stars and would recommend this book to anyone who loves crime/American government agency books.

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Ten years ago, a CIA extraction team of Isabella, Suzanne, and Jason with overwatch by Vanessa rescued a Senator Matthews who had been abducted when on a peacekeeping mission.

Fast forward ten years. Isabella has been appointed as a Chief Supervisor on Cyberterrorism. She and Jason were married with twin 6yo boy and girl, but not long after their birth, Jason died of pancreatic cancer. Suzanne is still in the field, and Vanessa still works for Isabella as her confidant.

Andre, a nerdy Russian programmer has been spirited into the USA with an assignment that must be fulfilled if he ever expects to see his family again. He is under the thumb of this Yuri, a man of little patience but grandiose dreams for Mother Russia.

Isabella is out for her usual Sunday morning jog leaving the kids with her mother, herself a retired CIA analyst. Isabella makes the turn back and is attacked. But the mutt sent to ambush her was far from being up to the task, is easily bested and Isabella hauls him in to a Langley detention room. She gets nothing from him until he says neither she nor her family are safe.

That sends Isabella speeding toward home only to find it empty with some evidence of a struggle. When she returns to the detention center, one of her team, John Beck, tells her the prisoner swallowed a cyanide pill hidden in his teeth, an old KGB tactic.

Isabella’s kids and her mom have been missing for 12hrs. No clues. Isabella needs sleep but can’t go home so a room in a nearby hotel is reserved. During the night, mutt #2 tries to kill Isabella. He fares worse. Isabella doesn’t capture him.

The full force of the CIA is brought to bear, but the details are kept highly compartmentalized to Isabella’s core team. Big questions: Why was Isabella targeted and just what is coming?

Members of a Kansas credit union find that their accounts have all been emptied. The entire computer system of a rural Arkansas (or was it Mississippi?) EMT unit is shut down. Tests to convince Yuri that the virus works and to keep Andre’s family alive. In theory, this new virus has the potential to bring down the bulk of the American electronic infrastructure.

The core team has to consider someone knew: 1) when and where Isabella was running. 2) that the kids were home with her mom. 3) that the first hit failed. And 4) where she’d be spending the night. The only conclusion:

A mole.

So now, the events of these couple days added a new level to the hunt. Is the mole can be found, then Isabella’s family can be found. Isabella is sure her core team is clean, so she starts looking for the mole, or even more ominous, the hunt for moles.

This book reminded me of two earlier books that, sort of, mined the same themes:

First is a Tom Clancy book, the title of which escapes me, where one part of the plot involves a computer takedown of Wall Street. Countdown America might be thought of as the plans and preparation necessary to eventually press the ‘go’ key for Clancy’s book. Big difference here is the mole hunt where Clancy’s book was more about finding the source and fixing what happened.

Second is Brad Thor’s Athena Project where Thor stepped away from Scot Harvath and presented an all-female team of deadly operatives. Personally, I thought Athena Project was Thor’s weakest effort, but he keeps bringing back one or two characters from time to time and that’s OK. The core characters in this book are mostly female, but not entirely. And when it comes just to the characters, I found Isabella and Suzanne, et al. a better unit than the Athena team.

MC Fox presents a fast-paced story about a mom who will do “anything to get the bastard” responsible. An easy 2-day cruise read. But something was missing. We find out ‘who’. We find out ‘what’. But we never find out ‘why’ only Isabella was targeted. There are so many other professionals ‘out there’ both in and out of government with similar responsibilities as Isabella. Why just her? One might think that the ‘why’ is the hook for a part 2 of an Isabella Bendel series. Based on the way the book ended, I’m not so sure. But I could be wrong. Been wrong plenty of times so why not this time, too.

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A CIA director is targeted by Russian terrorists. Her family is kidnapped, and it's up to the director to save her family. Spellbinding, each chapter is a cliffhangar. I read the entire book in one sitting. I couldn't put it down.

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Wild ride of a thriller that reads like a blockbuster movie script. I willingly set aside disbelief to hitch onto the coattails of Isabella Bendel, Chief Supervisor of the CIA. Do I really buy the premise that a woman could prevail over two murderous assailants in a single day? Probably not, but -- dang!-- she's a tough cookie and I got plenty of vicarious punches landed by tagging along. The book is fast-paced with nonstop action and multiple plot twists. It's a quick and entertaining read with an incredible, but satisfying resolution leaving plenty of room for sequels. Four solid stars from me.

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