Right out of a Mission Impossible or action movie Matt Drake is challenged and chased in high wire and tension scene that starts this novel off as if he were James Bond or Indiana Jones in action. Someone from his past decided to turn the streets of Austin, Texas into a war zone leaving blood and bodies in its wake. Matt retired and has been less than a shell of himself and realizing that the criminals will not let him be. When the past decides to invade his present his nemesis, The Devil tracked him down and orchestrated the attack that would put any normal person on edge dating back to something that happened in Syria and Iraq. The attack was organized, and a group of highly trained operatives were the ones who tried to take him out. . The scenes that followed are fast moving, combat scenes where Drake using his skills to ward off the ambush with his Glock 23. I love Frodo his partner and how he works so well with him trying to piece together who is behind the attack and define the enemy from the past. Drake investigates but the body count rises, and he must deal with a cruel and horrific organization run by the man after him called the DEVIL. He was his first enemy that had sentenced him to death in his previous book Without Sanction before Drake managed to recover from his serious injuries. Things are personal between him and THE Devil and the risks, deceptions and betrayals run high. Matt gets involved in taking down the sex-trafficking ring which the Devil runs, and things get more difficult as you sense that Drake and his friends will stop at nothing until they take him down.
The story is told in the first person as Matt uses his humor and innate ability to draw the reader in as we learn the truth behind what the devil has planned, and the players are dark and dangerous. When forced to deal with an old friend named Zain he hopes to get the help he needs to take out the Devil but for some reason he is always several steps ahead of him. Learning to trust comes hard at times and just when he thinks he has the situation under control he does not. With the help of a young woman named Virginia they learn about the 18-year-old girl he saved from torture at the hands of those that she was sold. Bidding comes easy to these people when selling young girls and she when Virginia speaks to her learns that she is Yazidi. Telling the story which begins in Iraq and the history of the Yazidi we learn that they are a religious minority and quite vulnerable. With ISIS in control the council of men who passed the jihadi group’s theologies decided that they were a special brand of apostates. When ISIS was beaten back another criminal organization moved in and developed sex sells. What this young girl described is bone chilling and Nazya’s story made him more determined to kill the Devil and exterminate every person that had a hand in what happened to her and others. This girl would not stand up in court and if they did not find and rescue her sister she would no longer be a source of help. But would Rawlings agree to what he wanted him to do or was he on his own?
Nickname for the man that had Ferah her sister was Mr. Suave. His job was to go to Iraq and rescue her but what happens next is another scene out of more than one action movie and will keep you tension filled, wondering whether Matt will succeed and then more than one unthinkable think happens. The author takes us inside the minds of the terrorists and Matt gets taken by the Devil and the scenes and their interaction is quite interesting as Matt stands up to him in his own way but first he meets with Zain who claims to want to help him rescue the Ferah and confesses his role in sex trafficking and does something that leads you to believe he is dead, but betrayals run high in this novel. Forced to comply to the lower ones linked to the Devil, Matt has had some quick thinking and quick moves if he wants to survive. Taken into a cell and locked away he meets Benny a Mossad agent, and they form an unusual and unholy alliance. The object of war he says is to kill people but what happens when his only mode of survival is to dance with the devil?
Chapter 36 talks about the Mossad and their history and how Matt was going to have to deal with the terrorist, save Benny and hopefully they will be freed. The scenes that follow are filled with violence, action and then Virginia is in trouble, Zain he assumes is dead and then events take on a different take. Why did he betray him to the Devil? What was the rationale behind it? Will Matt understand? According to Zain he was told to take out someone, filled his obligation and then hopefully he will not double cross Matt again. Quad Force is operating. Usually, the Iranians are content to stay out of the way while Hezbollah stirs up trouble for them. This is totally different. The key to the entire situation is Nazya, Ferah and his wife Laila who the Devil has been threatening him with taunting him. Someone close to him is feeding him information and he needs to get a lock on him but will the Mossad agent help?
Terror faces him when he realizes that things and events are now out of his hand and Virginia offers herself as bait to be sold on the auction block with the other girls. But when this occurs the last thing he expects is to see his wife, standing there terrified shaking to the point she could barely stand still. The Devil had his prey and now he things he has Matt at his mercy.
Virginia was determined to let this happen and the plan was in place but not everything goes as planned. With help from someone close to him he never realizes that the man who was driving him and working on his side was owned by the Devil. Was there anyone he could honestly trust, and will he survive the outcome? When realizing that he might be fighting a losing battle and the man who was slated to become the Director of the CIA was involved with the Devil and had a hand in the sex trafficking ring and the money involved, Matt was directed by the Devil if he wanted to save his wife from certain torture or worse to take this man out.
The final scenes are driven by his adrenalin, his determination and his hate for this man as Matt comes up against the enemy forces, bullets flying as author Don Bentley created a character with a strong personality, determination, persistence, rule breaker and hopefully Frodo and Rawlings will come to his aid and save the day at the end. An ending so well crafted and orchestrated your heart will beat faster, your body might shake as Matt has to find a way to get Laila back before the helicopter and the terrorists get her for good. What happens to the Devil? What about Charles? The ending lets you know that Matt just might decide to stay in the game but what about his relationship with Laila? Will he always remain THE OUTSIDE MAN?
Fran Lewis: Just reviews