Review

Hostile Intent

by Michael Walsh

Michael Walsh is an amazing gentleman and a wordsmith in several
disciplines who has achieved critical and commercial acclaim for
everything from music criticism to successful screenplays to
novels. The latter, which Walsh writes all too infrequently, are
memorable and unusual, each a bit different from the other. His
latest novel, HOSTILE INTENT, is in a class all by itself: a
full-throttle, energy-packed thriller that slices across espionage
and politics with enough explosions, fisticuffs and firepower to
fill five books with a bit left over for the next.

The book begins about three seconds from now with a school
hostage crisis in the middle of the heartland. Attempting to deal
with the situation is Jeb Tyler, the hapless, inexperienced
President of the United States --- elected after one term in the
Senate --- and events are coming at him with a rapidity that do not
permit the on-the-job training that he or his next-to-worthless
Cabinet requires. Fortunately, there is still the Army or, more
specifically, General Armond “Army” Seelye, who has a
secret weapon at the ready. The weapon is “Tom Powers”
(not his real name), code-named Devlin (not his real name,
either). Seelye, the reader learns, is Devlin’s stepfather
(and perhaps more), and has groomed him since childhood to be the
go-to, last-resort weapon for the United States when all else
fails, particularly the government itself.

The hostage situation, as it turns out, is devised by Emanuel
Skorzeny, an enigmatic, brilliant and extremely dangerous
billionaire with the power to topple governments or influence their
elections by manipulating markets and controlling the media.
Skorzeny employs a number of elements to draw the deadly Devlin out
of his all-but-undetectable electronic cocoon, but his major tool
is Milverton, a soldier of fortune who is Devlin’s equal in
every way. Devlin and Milverton have fought each other to a deadly
standstill before, and the temptation of settling the unfinished
business between them is too much for Devlin to resist.

Holding a young girl as a hostage in a dangerous game where the
fate of the nation hangs in the balance, Devlin follows a deadly
and complex trail to a date with destiny with Milverton, despite
the obstacles thrown into his path by both Skorzeny and his own
government. In a cataclysmic conclusion where Devlin has to face
both Milverton and Skorzeny, our protagonist must defeat not only
his adversaries but also the ghosts that haunt his own past if he
is to know any peace.

As fast-moving and action-packed as HOSTILE INTENT may be, the
real jewel of the narrative is Walsh’s backdrop presentation
of the socio-political forces that have held sway over the latter
half of the 20th century, resulting in the chickens that have come
to roost (and rule) in the 21st. Walsh is as uncompromising and
clear-eyed an observer as you are likely to find, and the book is a
no-nonsense presentation of how things are, not how one might wish
them to be. And he is by no means finished with Devlin’s
saga: BLACK WIDOW, the sequel, is scheduled for publication in
2010. After reading HOSTILE INTENT, you will want as much of Devlin
(and of Walsh) as you can possibly get.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 22, 2011

Hostile Intent
by Michael Walsh

  • Publication Date: September 1, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Pinnacle
  • ISBN-10: 0786020423
  • ISBN-13: 9780786020423