Termination Orders Code Name Cobra
by Leo Maloney with Caio Camargo
Published by Independent Publishing House, 2011
Review copy provided by the author
What's it about? Courtesy of Goodreads:
Termination Orders is based on the author's missions in Black Ops. Hero Dan Morgan is simultaneously hunted by a double-crossing CIA and Congress, vengeful foreign agents, a corporate drug ring, the Taliban, and narco-terrorists ... a you-are-there action thriller of torture, assassination, betrayals, and revenge, where nothing is as it seems.
I admit that I was apprehensive about a mystery/suspense thriller that was only 249 pages. Most of the books I read in these genres are upwards of 400 pages or more because the author needs the length to work out the subplots, plot twists, and have a few fake endings before the book comes to a conclusion. It turns out that my apprehension was a bit unwarranted as former Black Ops contractor turned author Leo Maloney did quite a job packing as much action, espionage, and intrigue into the pages of this book.
The reason why Termination Orders Code Name Cobra is able to wrap up in 249 pages is that the storyline is action driven, rather than character driven. Characters are developed enough that we see, believe, and understand their motivations, but they are not developed enough for any of them to become a favorite character or for hero Dan Morgan to lead another book, if the author has any intentions of making this into a series. Typically, I prefer books with more developed characters. I want to see how people live through, survive, and change because of the events in the book, but this lack of development or change in the characters didn't bother me because I was too caught up in the action.
For what this book lacked in character development, it definitely made up for in action. The fast pacing of the story and the constant developments and plot twists kept me up until one o'clock in the morning so I could finish this book. I devoured it in just a few hours. Because the emphasis was more on the action than the characters, it wasn't so easy to figure out how the book would end. I enjoyed not knowing all along who did it and why until the last few pages.
Author Leo Maloney is a former Black Ops contractor and this book is loosely based on his experiences. Knowing that fact before beginning this novel, I took the experiences of Dan Morgan, code name Cobra, and his long time partner, Paul Conley, code name Cougar, without too many questions. Maloney lived this life. He definitely knows a lot more about government espionage and risking his life for his country than I do. If this book was written by someone without the experience, I'd have a lot more questions regarding their research and if the book was realistic.
Overall, I really liked this book. It kept me engaged and entertained from start to finish. The book tackled a heavy topic in a way that didn't weigh me down as a reader so I could take the story for what it was, glean a little bit of insight into secretive government operations, and have strange covert mission like dreams that night. It's always fun to see what you read manifest itself in your dreams, right? If you are looking for a quick mystery/suspense thriller to get your hands on, maybe for a flight or train ride or a lazy summer afternoon, this book might be just what you are looking for. On a scale of one (I hated it!) to five (I loved it!), I give Termination Orders Code Name Cobra a four.