Joseph P. Garber
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Buy *Whirlwind* online


Joseph P. Garber
313 pages
August 2004
rated 4 of 5 possible stars
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Ex-CIA operative Charlie McKenzie is a seasoned veteran of the Washington wars, having suffered a grievous loss in his latest skirmish. But things change rapidly in this arena, as Charlie well knows, so he isn’t surprised when the architect of his shame calls asking for assistance with a top-secret problem. Charlie enjoys the phone call, extorting every condition in exchange for his expertise, but one is paramount: the restoration of his good name.

The Director of the NSA is savvy, a major player, but he has gotten himself into a situation that demands immediate attention; his future in politics is at stake. He suggests that a presidential pardon is possible if McKenzie comes aboard this one time to track down an errant Russian spy who has stumbled upon critical information that must not leave the country. A special-ops team is deployed by to assist McKenzie, if necessary, to remove any surplus carnage that might interest local enforcement, who are purposefully out of the loop.

Nobody trusts anyone in this scenario, nor should they. McKenzie had years of service and a solid rep as the best in the business until the Director of the NSA destroyed McKenzie’s reputation to further his own agenda. To complicate matters, the security team hired by the NSA Director, a team of mercenaries, is as bad as they come - especially the leader, a sociopath named Schmidt, who doesn’t mind the profit but craves revenge on McKenzie with a blood lust.

As for the Russian spy, she's caught in the jaws of fate once in McKenzie hands. But the ex-CIA pro is no fool; he knows the machinations of the organization and has other plans for the young woman caught in the unfolding drama. In the most impressive intrigue of his long career, McKenzie lays it all on the line. His good name was sullied for the benefit of others, and he plans to even things out a bit, with no love for either the NSA Director or the brutal Schmidt.

From Texas and Arizona to California, the hunter and his prey display their extraordinary skills, each trained to handle the most sophisticated possibilities, über-soldiers in a world of technology and disparate ideology. The violence occurs just under the radar of local law-enforcement, complicated by uninformed local government officials who never see what’s happening until bodies litter the landscape, some nasty collateral damage in a very high stakes game.

In a combination of greed, pride, revenge and hubris, McKenzie tangles with everyone, pursuing a private agenda from the White House to the conscienceless mercenaries who kill for the highest bidder. Whirlwind lives up to its title, action-filled to the last page, as one ex-agent determines to have the last word and save his country from some serious evil.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Luan Gaines, 2005

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