3 out of 4 stars
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Satan's Sand: Tell the truth, you live. Tell a lie, you die. Worthy of its ominous subtitle, Edward Vogler's action-packed suspense follows agent Jay Wilson--code name Satan--on the CIA mission Twin Devils.
When CIA analyst James Wilson III (Jay) is unexpectedly summoned to a meeting at the Pentagon, the dinner date he anticipated with co-worker Tiffany Collins is put on hold. Despite Jay's protestations that others would be better suited for the mission, the Joint Chiefs and Chairman concur that his expertise in languages and unique background as the grandson of Russian former agent, Reanna, make him an ideal candidate. He is to travel to Libya to establish an automatic distribution of weapons, connect with, and eliminate radical General Abdul-Hussein Nayed before he strikes the US, who is suspected of amassing weapons of mass destruction. Jay's director, Tom Jennings, introduces him to Imam Rahman Hakeem. Though involved in smuggling arms in the Middle East, Tom insists that Hakeem can be trusted but instructs Jay not to mention the meeting at the agency. He is further alarmed by the two men’s lack of communication when Hakeem warns him not to stay at the hotel the agency arranges. Jay becomes doubtful of the agency’s backing and if he can really trust Director of Operations, Hawkins. Once in Tripoli, he checks in under his assumed Arabic name, proceeds with securing weapons, and contacts Tom to update his status. However, at the agency the following morning, Tom makes an announcement that Jay has gone rogue. Meanwhile, Tripoli is in turmoil under gunfire and grenades; General Nayed has been briefed on Jay's arrival, who still hasn't been contacted by The Walker, the ex-Special Forces agent assigned to assist him. When Jay learns from Tiffany that an Alpha Team has been instructed to stop or eliminate him and is heading his way, his mission becomes a race against time to survive while identifying his real enemies.
What I liked most about this book was witnessing the evolution of the characters through the pages. When the story began, Jay came across as arrogant and shallow, but as the plot developed, so did his character. His priorities shifted, and he realized that he had been guilty of isolating himself emotionally. There was also a reveal at the book's conclusion that shed light and created empathy for his character overall. I also appreciated Jay's feisty grandmother, a former agent. Though a minor character in this story, readers may also enjoy the book's prequel, Reanna Reloaded, featuring her and her husband as agents in 1950. Even so, Tiffany was the character who really stood out in this story. Females who are just another pretty face are a pet peeve of mine. After reading the following sentences that introduced Tiffany's character, I braced myself. "Her dimpled smile could melt anyone's heart. The V-neck Caribbean blue dress hugged her curves, too low for the office, but he loved it." However, as the story unfolded, I was pleasantly surprised by Tiffany's depth and strengths. In the chapters that followed, the author moved beyond her dimples and clingy clothing. Our girl Tiffany is also a cancer survivor who practices yoga, Tai Chi, and Wing Chun. More often than not, it was Tiffany who came to Jay's rescue and not just figuratively speaking.
On the other hand, the book's weakness was the tendency to incorrectly capitalize words, frequently writing common nouns as proper nouns. Additionally, in reference to the CIA, the word "agency" was spelled inconsistently throughout the book. "Agency car" and "agency car" were used interchangeably, depending on the page. Due to these errors and inconsistencies, it's my conclusion that the book wasn't professionally edited. Therefore, I rate it 3 out of 4 stars.
I recommend the book to readers who enjoy suspenseful adventures with a hint of romance. It is intended for a mature audience due to violence and one scene of an explicit nature.
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