This review is published on Reedsy/Discovery.
The story centers around Arnold Gold, an American with ties to the FBI, pitted against Naseem Farhad, a Middle Eastern terrorist with a personal vendetta. The story begins as Naseem presents herself after Arnold had begun to move on from past conflicts between them that left several people dead.
Naseem deploys her team with a vengeance, plotting to usurp Arnold’s state-of-the-art artificial intelligence system, SAM, insistent that it could be used as a weapon to strengthen her jihad. The story is about Arnold’s quest to protect those he loves as well as his system and to obliterate Naseem from his life once and for all. In an attempt to defeat Naseem, Arnold involves Palmer Davidson, his lawyer, and FBI Agent Gary Fisher.
This is a fast-paced techno-thriller suspense story written in the third-person point of view. It is the third in a series, and I think I would have appreciated it more had I read the first two books. I get the sense that if I understood the events and Arnold’s personal experiences that preceded this story, certain gaps would be filled. I was trying to understand Arnold’s role with the FBI as it was unclear if he served the agency solely as a technical expert, was more heavily involved in espionage or somehow got pulled into acts of terrorism because of his technical skill. To readers interested in this book, I recommend you add the earlier books in the series to your reading list before this one. Also, the dynamics between characters seemed off. For example, Arnold expressed strong feelings of friendship with Palmer Davidson but usually referred to him as Mr. Davidson while Davidson called Arnold by his first name.
The suspense was continuous from cover to cover as I found myself cheering for the good guys. I thought Arnold’s affection for his dog, who played a starring role in the story as Arnold’s beloved sidekick, was a cute touch and served well to offset the tension of the chase. The ending satisfied my appetite for closure and piqued my interest in the next book of the series.