The Last Refuge: A Dewey Andreas Novel
The Last Refuge, third in a series featuring former SEAL and Delta Dewey Andreas, serves both as a platform for the author's right-wing politics and an entertaining thriller for those who prefer the over-the-top action style of Clancy to the more thoughtful, nuanced writing of Furst, le Carre, and Silva. Ben Coes, with his background as a White House speechwriter, infuses the novel with enough authentic-seeming detail about Washington's three-letter agencies and world politics to give his plot a timely, plausible feel. Dewey's mission is two-fold. First, he feels duty-bound to rescue Israeli Special Forces officer, Kohl Meir, a man who recently saved Dewey's life. Meir has been kidnapped on American soil by the Iranians and is held in Iran's most secure prison, where he is to be put on trial and executed in a publicized spectacle. But, as if this task weren't challenging enough, Dewey also learns that Iran has completed its first nuclear weapon and has imminent plans to destroy Tel Aviv. Because of a mole in the Israeli Government, who would tip Iran's hand and force immediate detonation of the bomb in the event it becomes apparent that Israel knows of the device, and a new American president who favors diplomacy with Iran, Dewey is forced to undertake his mission without the backing of either the American or Israeli Government.Coes follows through with this intriguing set-up quite competently, building suspense and tying up the loose ends in a satisfying resolution. There remains, however, considerable room for improvement in his craft. His use of dialogue tags is excessive, the prose a bit clunky in places, and some of the action scenes involving Dewey too far-fetched to be believable. The ending also feels rushed, as Dewey's ability to extricate himself from his perilous predicament comes across as too facile. In future installments, I'd like to see Coes try to achieve the same suspense through use of intriguing plot device and more believable action sequences, with a little less emphasis on his political leanings. In other words, a little more le Carre and a little less Clancy would make his series more appealing to me.-Kevin Joseph, author of "The Champion Maker"