3 out of 4 stars
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Behaviour conditioning and espionage are the order of the day in this high-stakes suspense story by Karl Braungart. Spy Determination is the first book in The Remmich/Miller Series. The story follows US Army intelligence officers and friends, Captains Paul Remmich and Eric Miller, in a kidnapping mission gone wrong.
A game-changing scientific discovery on a new energy source, given to the US military, has Tariq’Allah - a secret Iraqi spy organization - doing everything possible to obtain its classified details. Intelligence officer Captain Eric Miller is targeted as the perfect asset to assist Tariq’Allah in acquiring classified data. However, the kidnapping mission goes sideways when Miller’s long-time friend, Captain Paul Remmich, is mistakenly abducted instead. Remmich is tricked into becoming their mole. Will Miller discover what his friend is up to before its too late? The Russians also appear to have a vested interest in this discovery. How far will they go to get their hands on it?
The author’s background in military intelligence, as well as his understanding of espionage tactics and diplomacy certainly shone through in this book. Although the story’s pace dragged on and off throughout the book, it did not necessarily detract from the story. The major characters were given adequate backstories, enough to make them realistic and relatable. Their emotions or reactions in certain situations were believable. I also appreciated that the author used adequate descriptive text to enhance the quality of the story.
Additionally, I liked that the author did not shy away from including strong female characters in the book. Candice, Miller’s girlfriend, was a flight captain with a commercial airline; while Remmich’s girlfriend, Lilly, ran her parent’s Bar/Restaurant. Lilly ran the adjourning hotel as well, which also belonged to her parents. Their individual personalities shone through, and it was obvious they both took pride in their respective accomplishments.
Not to be overlooked was the author’s attempt to educate the reader on some of the cultural traits unique to a few of the places mentioned in the book. For instance, it was interesting to learn that Europeans mostly eat veal, pork, and lamb. Beef is not necessarily as popular. I also learned that the Dutch cook by baking and boiling, not so much by frying. It was equally fascinating to learn that home break-ins are rare in Amsterdam, due to stiffer penalties, compared to the US.
On the downside, the book was plagued with several grammatical, typographical, and punctuation errors. A few pages were not numbered. Also, Candice was sometimes spelled, Candace. I could not determine which of the two was the intended spelling. Finally, the story ended with no plot resolution. I found this rather disappointing. The story continues in book two.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I am deducting a star due to the grammar errors and other issues mentioned above. I believe the book would benefit immensely from another round of proper editing. If you enjoy stories about the shadowy world of espionage, this book is for you.
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