Lieutenant Rollie Waters has been undercover in a covert operation to trap Marines who are illegally selling arms to the enemy. He infiltrated an Afghan “caravan of thieves,” posing as one of them in an effort to catch a group of his fellow Marines who were selling government-issued rifles and ammunition to the Afghan forces. With his gift for languages, Rollie was able to blend in with the Afghans and fool his fellow Marines.
"Rich does a good job of developing characters and setting the stage for his different scenes. He also packs plenty of drama and intrigue into this tale of dishonesty and betrayal."
Rollie is pulled from that mission and sent on another one: to track down his father and find $25 million the military believes Rollie’s father, Dan, has stolen. Dan is not in the military, but he had been in Iraq, working as a paving supervisor at an airport, giving him access to gossip about huge sums of stolen money being shipped stateside in body bags. Rollie’s mission is to locate his father, find the money and return it to those in charge. But in the process, Rollie learns that there is more to the mission than what he has been told; he’s not sure who is really in charge of his mission or where the stolen money should be sent should he recover it.
Rollie spent much of his childhood in foster homes because his mother left when he was just a baby. He was taken care of by other people when his father took off on one of his many adventures. His father was a con artist who was gifted at getting others to part with their money, but he was not so gifted at being a dad. He did teach Rollie to “lie, cheat, and steal, and then lie, like lie some more.” Rollie uses those lessons, and others, to survive in his quest to locate his father and the stolen money.
Author and screenwriter David Rich makes his debut as a novelist after a successful career selling screenplays to many major and minor studios and productions companies in both the U.S. and Europe. The story’s narrative is a bit difficult to follow as it kept changing time frames from the present to the past. Also, sometimes it was unclear who was actually speaking at any given time in the narrative as Rich didn’t always use tags to identify the speakers. The book’s format reminded me somewhat of a screenplay.
Nevertheless, CARAVAN OF THIEVES is well worth reading. Rich does a good job of developing characters and setting the stage for his different scenes. He also packs plenty of drama and intrigue into this tale of dishonesty and betrayal. With his connections, I wouldn’t be surprised to find this novel on the big screen in the near future.
Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin on October 5, 2012