Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Kill List by Chet Cunningham

Kill List
by Chet Cunningham
2013 Wolfpack Publishing

The Specialists are an ill-defined paramilitary team that fights terrorism and stuff.  They start with a by-the-books assault on Somalian pirates.  Literally - swim to boat, blow up boat, swim away.  Walk to building, blow up building, walk away.  We're not starting off well.

An Arab-American with a bachelor's in physics joins Al-Qaeda.  There, his expertise is used to come up with a weapon of mass destruction.  After massive amounts of research, he stumbles upon the notion of a "dirty bomb".  After more research on the World Wide Web, he finds out about this obscure substance called plutonium.  Because getting a degree in physics didn't require watching Back to the Future.

The terrorists steal some spent fuel rods in France, and our heroes drive around looking at trucks and trains for a zillion pages.  Almost every lead is given to them by a homeless folk that speak perfect English and have photographic memories for which directions trucks go.

Almost no action, mostly coordinating with local police, getting through customs, and finding a place to eat.  Cunningham did a lot of homework on customs and shipping practices, which would have nicely filled out a more exciting novel.  The villains are better fleshed out than the heroes, but they also spend 90% of their time going through customs and figuring out lunch.

Some weird and outdated language.  There is talk of the terror attack on "nine eleven", there is "a black" on the team, and the HQ is outfitted with World Wide Web.  I wasn't a huge fan of Cunningham's "Penetrator" installments, but they were at least competently put together.

Tons of spelling errors, all typos that end up as different words so spell check misses them.  Horrible cover ("They want to kill millions.  They must die!")  Horrible copy ("What would any English speaking country do to prevent a dirty bomb from wiping out a city? There's best to kill every S.O.B. who's involved in that terrorist scheme, that's what. And sometimes a small elite force is better than an Army!")  Definitely worth half the royalties for that level of professionalism.

There is no kill list.

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