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Independence Day: A Dewey Andreas Novel


Independence Day: A Dewey Andreas Novel

I would ask those of you who selectively delete books that are over a certain page count --- say, 300 --- to break tradition for INDEPENDENCE DAY. Like its namesake holiday, it is explosive from beginning to end and one of those rare titles that is so much fun that you wish it would never end. 

INDEPENDENCE DAY, the fifth Dewey Andreas novel by Ben Coes, commences some 30 years in the past with a tragic vignette that provides the motivating force behind what occurs in the present. The premise is simple enough. An enigmatic, genius-level Russian computer hacker named Cloud plans to launch an up-close-and-personal nuclear attack on the United States on the Fourth of July. How he gets hold of the material to do so is but one of many elements that makes INDEPENDENCE DAY a rocket ride of a book, as is the manner in which the United States government slowly becomes aware of the plot and tries to play catch-up against an adversary who is at least three steps ahead of it before the government even knows that it’s in the fight of its life.

"I don’t think I’ll celebrate another Fourth of July without thinking of [INDEPENDENCE DAY]. There’s enough action, explosions, fatalities and (best of all) intelligence nuggets to fill a summer’s equivalent of books."

Dewey Andreas, a former Delta Force member who is now a black-ops go-to guy for the CIA, is the obvious choice to stop Cloud. However, he is still reeling physically and emotionally from the events of 2013’s EYE FOR AN EYE. When a (relatively) minor operation almost goes south because of a Dewey freeze-up, the decision is made to temporarily take him off the roster. Dewey is hardly one to quietly go off to therapy and sit still when the time comes to stand up and be counted. He takes off on a mission of his own, and all too quickly finds himself to be the most wanted man in Russia. A good deal of INDEPENDENCE DAY consists of Dewey engaging in his own unique brand of urban open field running; seriously wounded, he attempts to evade both police and citizenry while trying to find the extremely elusive Cloud with the intent of eliciting the geographical target of his nuclear attack by any means necessary.

While Dewey and others are waging the ground war, a second but equally meaningful war is being waged in cyberspace between Cloud and Igor, a freelance computer hacker who has been recruited by the CIA. Igor is the CIA’s --- and Dewey’s --- last, best and only hope of finding Cloud’s location and the delivery method of his nuclear attack before the Fourth of July. Dewey and Igor are both driven and relentless, in very different ways --- members of a team who never meet but work in tandem, even as the sand runs all too quickly through the hourglass, as an all-but-certain disaster approaches.

Dewey arguably has never been more driven or relentless as he is in INDEPENDENCE DAY. He is not afraid of inflicting collateral damage for the good of the many while at the same time ignoring the damage to himself. Among the book’s many high points is a step-by-step description, courtesy of Dewey, of how to field dress a wound while driving in Russia without a first aid kit. Oh my. The description is not for the faint of heart, but is certainly an eye opener. This occurs, of course, while Dewey is being pursued by literally everyone in Russia. Coes puts Dewey through so much that at one point while reading, I said, to no one in particular, “Give the guy a break!” Coes does, but not in the way I meant.

INDEPENDENCE DAY may well be the best installment of the series to date. I don’t think I’ll celebrate another Fourth of July without thinking of it. There’s enough action, explosions, fatalities and (best of all) intelligence nuggets to fill a summer’s equivalent of books. After you read it, please check out the Acknowledgements (or at least the first few paragraphs of it). You’ll be glad you did. Strongly recommended, from first page to last.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on May 29, 2015

Independence Day: A Dewey Andreas Novel
by Ben Coes

  • Publication Date: May 31, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 1250043190
  • ISBN-13: 9781250043191