“To strike back at the one who wants to kill you, you need to put everything you have at risk. In order to fight, you must be willing to be hit. In order to kill, you must be willing to be killed.”
This is the fourth book in a series. This review contains no spoilers for previous books in the series, aside from giving away the survival of the main character.
Eye for an Eye, by Ben Coes
#4 in the Dewey Andreas series
St. Martin’s Press, July 2013
422 pages (hardcover)
When Dewey Andreas uncovers the identity of a mole embedded at a high level in Israel’s Mossad, it triggers a larger, more dangerous plot. The mole was the most important asset of Chinese Intelligence, and Fao Bhang, head of China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS), responds to the discovery and brutal elimination of the mole, by immediately placing a kill order on the man responsible – Dewey Andreas.
Dewey is tracked to Argentina, where he is on vacation with his fiancée, Jessica Tanzer, a U.S. National Security Advisor. A top-level kill team is sent in quickly and quietly, but their attack fails to take out Dewey. The collateral damage, however, is both horrifying and deeply personal. With nothing left to lose, Andreas is determined to have his revenge. Once he learns who is probably behind the attack – and why they are after him – Dewey goes rogue, using all of his assets and skills to launch a counterattack. Andreas must now face the full weight and might of the MSS, Chinese Intelligence, and the formidable Fao Bhang, if he’s to achieve his one last goal: revenge on a biblical scale, no matter the odds or the armies that he will have to fight his way through. Andreas – former Army Ranger and Delta – is a man of great skills and cunning. His opponent, Fao Bhang, is ruthless, determined, and with no limit to the assets at his disposal.
In this conflict, there are only two possible outcomes. And only one Dewey Andreas.
Eye for an Eye is the fourth book by Ben Coes. I read his debut – Power Down – last year, and that one remains my favorite in the series, but they’re all good, and this one delivered what I’ve come to expect from Coes.
Dewey Andreas is your typical ex-military guy with a tragic past who just wants to be left alone, but he keeps getting pulled into these situations. The stories have a darker feel to them than, say, a James Rollins or Steve Berry thriller. They’re also very political… not in that they push an obvious agenda, but in that they rely heavily on global relationships and playing with the dynamics between various countries. This one centers on a conflict with China that quickly becomes personal for those on both sides.
At just over 400 pages, Eye for an Eye isn’t overly long, but I can’t help feeling it was maybe longer than it needed to be. The first and last hundred pages are both strong, but while the middle was filled with plenty of action and urgency, it didn’t consistently hold my interest.
Coes introduces several minor characters, and sometimes it would take me a while to remember who each one was and how they fit into the complex story. Some secondary characters were stronger than others, but I was most engaged when we were following either Dewey Andreas or Fao Bhang.
You can read this as a stand-alone… and many times I felt like I was reading this as a stand-alone anyway, because it had been so long since I’d read the previous books. I found myself searching my memory for things that may or may not be there; it might have been more enjoyable to go in knowing I didn’t have any background information and let the book fill in what I need to know, without complicating it myself. (I had a similar issue with The King’s Deception by Steve Berry. I think this is hard evidence that I really do need to re-read at least a book back before diving into continuations on a series.)
At any rate, if you like global thrillers, Ben Coes is an author to check out.
Does this sound like something you’d pick up? Do you enjoy politics in your fiction, or would you rather not think about that sort of thing when you’re trying to relax?