This book is the second in the Pug Connor series, I reviewed the first (State of Rebellion) back in January. The book starts with a hijacked KLM plane en-route to an unknown destination in the USA. The newly inaugurated President has to make a quick decision, shoot it down over the sea killing 300 people or allow it to fly over the US and potentially kill thousands. This terrorist attack is followed by a wave of smaller scale attacks, random shootings across the country.
In this installment we meet some familiar characters again. Pug Connor, who played a lesser role in the first book, comes to the forefront. He is now working for the deceptively named Office of Public Relations and Information, heading up a small group who are working to counter terrorism. They are among those battling with the best way to counter the new threat from Al Qaeda. Meanwhile politicians are battling with whether to enact new legislation that would hand massive powers to private security firms and erode civil liberties. The issue of secession is still front and centre in California and indeed in many other western States. Dan Rawlings continues to be involved in a movement which is growing and causing major political waves.
This book is another great political thriller, but in addition to all the action it contains a lot of thoughtful commentary on the power and influence of lobbyists and private companies in the USA, the perceived move towards a socialist state and what form future terrorist attacks might take - very current especially in light of the events of the last few days. There's even room for a bit of romance. The character of Pug Connor is fleshed out more, and he is a nice mix of brawn and brain. There are a lot of minor characters, the only one I didn't particularly like is Pug's Irish contact who comes over a something of a stereotype.
At the start of the book the author suggests if you haven't already done so you should read book 1 before starting this book. However as I read the book I thought there was enough reference to the events of the first book to make it work as a stand alone novel. The end clearly leaves the way open for book 3 though, which doesn't make for the most satisfying ending if you are planning on reading it on it's own. As I've got Book 3 on the kindle to read soon it isn't an issue for me.
It's a good thing the author has plenty more books available as I really like his style and his interesting plots, if you like thrillers in the spy/CIA/political intrigue vein definitely give Mr Ryan a try.
Format: Kindle, bought by me
Star Rating: 4*