Thursday, March 15, 2018

Book Review: 'Red Agenda' by Cameron Poe

Las Vegas author Cameron Poe s a student of classic literature. He earned his undergraduate degree from Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and his MBA from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. He is an observer of politics and the interplay between nation states. He has a keen interest in structural and mechanical engineering. He manages real estate portfolio financing.

Introducing a hard as nails espionage novel with a moment of back history of the main characters for many authors is an unwanted distraction. How Cameron Poe is able to ignite this explosive novel with a human touch of ancestry is only one of the reasons this author is destined to become a major force in the genre of spy novels. To wit, Cameron introduces CIA operative George in Kuwait as he longs for his return to the US: ‘George’s parents had immigrated to America from Iran in 1960. His father, discouraged by his country’s poor standard of living, had rejected his Islamic faith in favor of the better life in the United States. He flew into New York with his wife and never looked back. The two expatriates scraped together enough money to open a dry-cleaning shop and made it a resounding success. To celebrate his good fortune, his father christened his first son “George” in honor of the first president of his newly adopted homeland. The name rolled off the tongue in a peculiar declaration, but it seemed to stick well enough: George Mohammed Akbar. Dinner was where George’s father would wax poetic about the American dream. “Hard work and a little sweat,” he would say. “In America, you can go anywhere, accomplish anything. You just have to be driven and educated.” His father loved being an American and did as much as he could to embrace his new life and forget his old. He immersed George in American culture, which included football in the winter and baseball in the summer, so George would achieve a deep sense of loyalty and patriotism. Politics in his home were conservative. His father’s views on the developing Middle East were more of a blanket statement. “They are all thieves,” George’s father would remark. “The tribesmen, the governors, the government, and the kings. Thieves, nothing more. May they perish by their corruption.”

This is such a complex, superbly integrated tale that it is best to summarize the plot form the author’s synopsis – ‘The most sought after commodity in the world is power, and when money is no object, power is up for grabs. Desiring autonomy, one small nation (Kuwait) develops an unlikely plan to procure a nuclear-powered submarine. If all goes as intended, the Middle East will destabilize and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Alliance will crumble. Yet as money might buy power, there’s no guarantee that it buys loyalty. So when the submarine breaks the ocean surface it doesn't travel to the Middle East, it sails for Russia, in an attempt to return the nation to its Soviet roots. Alerted to the possibility of the theft of a Russian sub, the CIA must foil the plan for acquisition without alarming the rest of the world. A step behind and suffering from department infighting, the CIA watches in disbelief as the single most powerful weapon in the world rises from the ocean floor. It doesn’t take long for them to realize that the commander of the vessel has no intention of honoring his contract. Scrambling to prevent a worldwide disaster, CIA operatives in coordination with the US Navy launch a daring and risky plan to quietly thwart a rogue submarine captain before he can obliterate Moscow and take control of the country. Those who volunteer for this mission risk their lives. Those who don’t risk the safety of the entire world.’

Realistically terrifying yet so credible in the manner this plot is written that it begs to become a screenplay. Welcome Cameron Poe to the world of big time adventure novelists. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, March 18
This book is free to borrow from Kindle Unlimited.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.