Special Ops, Army veteran Michael Herne is back and ready for action. This time Herne’s old Army commander, Alpha contacts Herne with a personal request. Alpha confides that his close friend, Colonel Hernandez’s daughter has gone missing after joining a group protesting mining operations. Heather’s last communication is a cryptic letter. Herne is quick to discover the clues in the letter as well as those that crop up in his investigation of the group and its members, and uncovers conspiracies and cover-ups that have national and international consequences.
First person narration creates tension and conveys the cool headedness of Herne’s character, which often works in favor of the story, especially when Herne reveals his cocky attitude and humor. For example when he is tackled by two men and restrained after he was questioned a few moments earlier. His response? “I assume you have more questions for me?” At times, however, this point of view offers too much composure and creates a distance in the narration and with the identification of the protagonist, as in the scene where he is being tortured, “I tried to make it easy for them to impress their boss. After the first ten seconds, I struggled, screamed, blubbered and externalized every other awful thing I was experiencing to make sure that Ventura was getting the show he wanted.” Herne also reveals few, if any, weaknesses, making him almost too perfect of a protagonist to really sympathize with, while his equally problem-free “escapes” may feel way too contrived for readers.
Those less interested in Herne, the man, and more in the man’s exploits will probably find BINDER a satisfying read. Author David Vinjamuri’s strength lays in his tight and plausible descriptions of places and procedural interaction between agencies. Vinjamuri also offers a natural and fluent dialogue that effectively captures the agency and military lingo and introduces information that intensifies the setting and the unraveling of the plot elements, without weighing down the dialogue.
BINDER offers a fast-paced, energetic sequel for Michael Herne followers and those interested in military thrillers.
Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann for IndieReader