Top critical review
A Promising Debut Novel
March 27, 2011
Kurdish terrorists attack the US on our soil in an effort to force our troops out of Turkey. The US government makes a deal with the devil in an attempt to take the terrorists down.
Gary Ponzo seems to be going for a Lethal Weapon sort of partnership with his lead characters, FBI agents Nick and Matt (there's even a subsidiary character called Martin Riggs in the book), but the banter seems a bit forced. Despite this, the partnership itself rings true. They're likable guys and competent agents, and it's a pleasure to spend some time in their company.
The plot itself offers some surprises. Kurdish terrorists on our soil are unexpected, and it keeps the story away from devolving into obvious cliches. The terrorists themselves are well conceived, brilliant even.
Yet, there are times when the plot fails. The US government somehow allows a top level Kurd to escape from prison, which absolutely defies credulity in the era of Guantanamo. An assassination attempt in a hospital falls into the same category.
The female characters are too simple. As a son, a husband (twice), a brother and a father of girls, I think women are more complicated that Ponzo would have us imagine. The relationship between Nick and his wife falls very flat.
The story fires on all cylinders when politics, espionage and action are in play, but fails on the personal side. Objections could be made with the conclusions reached, as well. The US has far more options in dealing with terrorists than the author would have us believe.