by Andrew Kaplan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Andrew Kaplan’s second thriller about the man known only as ‘Scorpion’, Scorpion Betrayal (Harper 2012) is a bullet train through a web of deceit. Scorpion, an American agent not affiliated with any government agency is the best of the best. He is called in to find a terrorist who’s devious plan will upend not just America, but the world. What he finds as he untangles this Gordian knot of intrigue is much more. It doesn’t seem that anyone anywhere in the world can be honest with him, each other, or even their friends. That trust gene atrophied in the human character and Scorpion’s task is to read between the lines, between the clues to find out what is really happening and then stop it.
It’s intriguing to watch his mind work as he weighs clues, sifts through misinformation, and tracks down just the right thread to pull. He is an amazing, fascinating strategist which whether you enjoy reading political thrillers or write them, you won’t want to miss.
If I had to include a ‘con’ here, it would be that Scorpion is flat. He is that brilliant spy with no flaws, no emotion, and no personal life (this is why it lost one star). Kaplan wastes no time persuading us to like this hired killer. We will or will not, and that decision won’t change the story. Even when Kaplan tries to inject a love interest, it doesn’t ring true, seems more like misdirection (which it is). As a result, throughout the entire 400+ pages, I caromed off bad guys and bullets and nuclear disaster. Kaplan’s depth of knowledge on foreign nations, foreign military, fighting tactics (I’d never heard of the Brazilian back leg sweep or the Krav Maga move) and law enforcement is impressive, so this never got boring, but it did get confusing. I wish I’d read this on a Kindle so I could search back for names and places I’d lost track of.
Overall, a well-written book with a superbly crafted plot, complicated and tricky in the best tradition of thrillers, with spies, radical Muslims, bio-weapons, amoral murderers, an armload of exotic foreign cities, and much much more. Don’t miss it.
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Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-sixth grade and creator of two technology training books for middle school. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.