Review

The Hunters: A Presidential Agent Novel

by W. E. B. Griffin

With
more than 35 novels published, W. E. B. Griffin presents THE
HUNTERS, the third installment in his Presidential Agent
series. Griffin's protagonist is Charley Castillo --- tough,
skilled in Special Operations methods and answerable only to the
President of the United States. The story takes place in the summer
of 2005, in locations from Europe to South America and the United
States.

Post-9/11, the Office of Homeland Security is in place. The
Director of National Intelligence, Ambassador Charles W. Montvale,
resents Castillo's presidential appointment as Chief Officer of
Organizational Analysis. Montvale would rather supervise Castillo
but accepts the President's wishes for the time being. Amidst
subtle reminders that Montvale requires constant updates on his
progress, Castillo steams ahead with his task.

The action begins at Estancia Shangri-La in the Republic of
Uruguay. Castillo and his small band arrive at the sprawling "big
house" in time to find target Jean-Paul Bertrand, holder of a
Lebanese passport. Bertrand's real identification is that of
Jean-Paul Lorimer, who is suspected of heavy involvement in the
oil-for-food scandal. Bertrand's sister had been kidnapped and
drugged, and her husband was murdered before her eyes in order to
drive home the serious intent of her tormenters. Castillo's mission
is to determine the true identity of Bertrand and bring him back to
the United States. By the time Castillo's group enters the man's
office, they are under fire from unknown assailants. Bertrand has
been murdered, and their Special Ops training kicks into place.
Castillo's men return fire with deadly accuracy, killing all six
unknown, dark-clothed, masked assassins.

Before exiting, one of their own is dead, garroted by an
unidentified individual. The garrote is much like the ones used by
the Stasi or KGB agents in Cold War times. Castillo finds and takes
into possession a sheaf of colored bank-type notes, proof that
Bertrand accepted bribe money for his part in the scandal. Sixteen
million dollars, when signed by the bearer, can be deposited into
an off-shore bank account. Bertrand is dead and has not been
identified as Lorimer. With the President's approval, Castillo
establishes a bank account for his Office of Operational Analysis;
Castillo's web expenditure is the purchase of an airplane.

Meanwhile, Castillo's extensive international family becomes
involved in the operation. His mother was German, which gives him
exclusive German citizenship and a passport stamped as "Herr
Gossinger." He is heir to Tages Zeitung, the largest German daily
newspaper, and is its Washington correspondent. Eighty-two-year-old
Hungarian Eric Kocian --- Castillo's adopted uncle and
editor-in-chief of the paper --- is deep into the investigation of
the oil-for-food scandal and targeted by unknown assailants in
Budapest.

Castillo's American connection is by way of his father, a Huey
pilot who had not yet married his mother. Upon her death, his dad's
family, complete with an American passport, brought the boy to live
in Texas.

Griffin writes with gusto and rich characters, brimming
near-calamities at the precipice with drama. Action moves from one
locale to another with breakneck speed. When Castillo needs
information, he jets to the source with little time lost. His
military rank is elevated to that of Major, a fact few in contact
with him learn before recognition can be acknowledged. He isn't
concerned with the frills of rank or the petty interferences of
Ambassador Montvale.

Sheer numbers of military personnel, civil servants in numerous
South American countries, diplomats, journalists and ambassadorial
types make for a voluminous cast of characters. Each desires a
"need to know" relationship with Castillo. However, repetition does
not delay the action forward in THE HUNTERS.

When the pieces of the puzzle begin to settle into a playable
picture, Castillo uses all of the resources at his command to bring
the solution to fruition. At the heart of blackmail,
money-laundering and espionage, he sets the finished product before
the President. Surprises abound when treacherous identities are
revealed. We'll anticipate the next book in this series; THE
HUNTERS cannot be finished with the job.

Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on January 22, 2011

The Hunters: A Presidential Agent Novel
by W. E. B. Griffin

  • Publication Date: January 2, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult
  • ISBN-10: 0399153799
  • ISBN-13: 9780399153792