ACT OF TERROR is one of those books that should come with a warning on the cover: “Fasten seatbelt and secure objects around you before opening and reading.” It needs this message because the story starts out fast and accelerates right to the end.
This second installment in Marc Cameron’s Jericho Quinn series follows 2011’s NATIONAL SECURITY. Quinn is a CIA Special Agent who reports directly to U.S. President Chris Clark as Clark’s very own classified “instrument.” And what an instrument he is. Quinn is an expert in weaponry, from firearms to bladed instruments, and has few if any peers in hand-to-hand-combat. You will be very glad that he is on our side because, as is evident from the jump, the enemy is brilliant, dangerous and deadly.
"ACT OF TERROR is one of those books that should come with a warning on the cover: 'Fasten seatbelt and secure objects around you before opening and reading.' It needs this message because the story starts out fast and accelerates right to the end."
ACT OF TERROR more accurately might be titled “Many Acts of Terror” given that it begins with a brazen attack upon the federal government from within, followed by a series of secondary actions, including one directed at Quinn and his six-year-old daughter. Clark’s reaction is both refreshing and, in a way, hilarious as he indicates that he has “had enough” (he’s a bit more colorful in his description, but you have to read it in context to appreciate it) of the attacks and unleashes Quinn. The common thread linking all of these incidents is that the perpetrators all appear to be good solid American citizens. Quinn slowly but steadily follows a dangerous trail that leads to a remote corner of Asia and then into Afghanistan, where Quinn discovers a chilling training school for terrorists that is as ingenious as it is cold-blooded.
Meanwhile, the mastermind behind the plotting and the execution of the terrorist acts is gearing up for a main event that will strike at the very heart and soul of the United States government. Quinn and Jacques Thibodaux, his extremely capable sidekick, find themselves in a race against time to save the government on two different fronts, even as the dastardly attack seems all but certain to succeed.
There is much to love here. If you are a weapon, motorcycle, or technology aficionado, Cameron certainly will keep you entertained. His knowledge of weaponry is up-to-the-minute, and he gives Quinn many toys --- dangerous and otherwise --- to play with. Perhaps the most impressive element of the book is Quinn himself. Cameron gets deep inside the mindset of the soldier-warrior and gets it right from start to finish. His insight as revealed through Quinn into the offensive and defensive elements of enhanced interrogation and situational observation is particularly impressive. His biographical information indicates that he has spent over a quarter-century in law enforcement, with the last two decades in the employ of the federal government.
One gets the feeling that at least some of the events described here took place in the real world, albeit cloaked in shadow. Cameron’s over-the-shoulder descriptions of what occurs in the halls and offices of government solidify this impression. It is the back-to-the-wall action of ACT OF TERROR, though, that makes the book an unmitigated, white-knuckle joy to read, from its first sentence to its last paragraph.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on May 4, 2012