5 out of 5 stars
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The novel commences with the entrance of two operatives from Hezbollah, namely Darbandi and Gilani, into an American cemetery in France. Within the premises, they proceed to excavate the grave of an American nurse named Ruth Ackerman, extracting her femur and hip bones. This particular cemetery serves as the final resting place for Americans who succumbed to the Spanish flu epidemic from 1918 to 1920. Meanwhile, Major Jake Fortina, a US Army officer and current assistant Army attaché in France, finds himself caught up in the unfolding events. Having previously served in a special forces unit and experienced the devastating loss of his wife and children, Fortina's reputation prompts his temporary transfer from the US embassy defense attache office to assist the understaffed FBI in France.
As the investigation unfolds, Jake's pursuit of the terrorists' trail leads him to Italy, where he reunites with his former friend, Major Sara Simonetti. The motives behind the Hezbollah operatives' pursuit of Ruth Ackerman's bones, the identities of those they serve, and the overall success of the joint effort between the US force, French police, and their Italian counterparts in solving the case comprise the captivating essence of this enthralling novel titled Major Jake Fortina and the Tier One Threat, authored by Ralph R. "Rick" Steinke.
Rick effectively crafts this pulsating global thriller with remarkable accuracy and believability. The book is an exhilarating read, with an intriguing depiction of a bioweapon whose vaccine is accessible to only one country or race. This page-turner remains relevant nowadays, where terrorist threats are the order of the day. It also offers a compelling and mysterious storyline.
Throughout the book, readers see how professional the noncommissioned officer corps are. They also see the struggles endured by military families and the sacrifices made by military spouses. Readers bear witness to Captain Jake Fortina's rise in rank, from cadet to special task force captain and eventually an international military officer. At each stage, his family bears the burden, yet the unwavering commitment and love shared by Faith and Jake contribute to the stability they seek. The book delves into the challenges faced by military marriages while also imparting valuable insights on overcoming these obstacles to forge a loving family.
One aspect of Captain Jake that particularly resonated with me was his demonstration of leadership qualities when he took leave to attend the funeral of a fallen teammate. This exemplifies his compassionate leadership style, which extends to all members of his team.
The book sheds light on the notion that not all charitable organizations have good intentions. Many serve as mere façades for terrorist groups to gather funds and move covertly, evading suspicion. Additionally, the political intrigue within the story is a strong point, as the author effectively explores the complexities of international relations and the inner workings of government agencies. The book exhibits a well-researched quality, with the author's deep understanding of geopolitics and military strategy shining through.
Rick is an award-winning author who is experienced as a US defense attaché in France and also, as a professional and through his personal experiences throughout the Eurasian landmass, offers readers an enlightening perspective on the challenges US and international law enforcement and intelligence face. And at the same time, the reward for their cooperation.
Rick succeeds in creating characters that evoke readers' emotions. Readers will find themselves becoming intimately connected with the characters' personal triumphs and sorrows. The dialogue within the book keeps readers actively engaged as they find themselves rooting for their favorite characters. These dialogues stem from personal experiences and interactions. So are the characters. Rick's extensive expertise makes him the ideal author for such an enthralling novel, and at times, I felt as though I were reading a work of historical fiction due to the wealth of knowledge I acquired regarding international relationships.
While reading this book, I noticed a handful of errors. Apart from this, there is nothing I dislike in this book. However, this would not prevent me from giving the book an appropriate rating. I rate it five out of five stars. The novel is too entertaining to deduct a star. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to enthusiasts of military-based thrillers, and I believe army veterans will thoroughly enjoy every aspect of this gripping story. If you are interested in international and national security challenges, you will enjoy this book.
Major Jake Fortina and the Tier One Threat
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