Thor’s new political thriller predictable, in a good way | VailDaily.com

Thor’s new political thriller predictable, in a good way

While Vail Valley visitors and residents golf, fish, raft, hike and attend symphonies (all under umbrellas), New York Times best-selling author Brad Thor has released a political thriller that will keep hearts pumping while bodies dry out from a rainy summer. Without spoiling the book for readers (no small task when reviewing a thriller), "Code of Conduct" barrels through a pandemic for population control, murder for lots of reasons, secret societies bent on world domination and enough licentiousness to break the chaos and carnage.

Thor revives Scot Harvath, a former Navy SEAL turned covert counterterrorism operative, just in time to interrupt his growing relationship with long-distance love Lara Cordero. Harvath is summoned to his employer's offices in Reston, Virginia, to view an anonymous video of a CARE hospital under attack. Throwing his budding romance under the bus, he soon arrives in Africa to investigate at the behest of the CARE director. After appropriately dealing with rebels manning an impromptu tollbooth, he finds a decimated facility, a burn pit containing the murdered remains of patients and medical staff and a completely scrubbed (decontaminated) site.

Something infectious is brewing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The scene shifts from mud-brick-and-thatch villages to Switzerland, where readers meet one of the world's richest men, Pierre Damien, and his mistress, Helena Pastova. He's stereotypic, and she's damaged. The story then moves to the U.S. when a horrific virus sends soon-to-be corpses to local hospitals. As the epidemic spins out of control, Damien's handful of corrupt politicians help him implement the rest of his scheme.

Finite Number of Options

In many ways, "Code of Conduct" is predictable, and that's not a bad thing. Thriller, mystery and suspense, particularly contemporary works based in just enough fact to be believable, have a finite number of options relating to plot twists and scenarios. In many ways, Thor's latest book is similar to works by Baldacci, Silva or Flynn.

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"Code of Conduct" differs from similar works in that the protagonist's responses are written as personal. This is a path many authors don't take, particularly later in a series. Harvath's beliefs and the people he loves drive his choices and actions. This very human political thriller offers glimpses of the man behind the muscle.

Thor does such a good job of depicting the Congo, home to the second largest rainforest on the planet, that humidity almost drips off the pages. His portrayal of Supreme Court Justice Leascht, though short, is perfect. Thor's vivid description of Extremis and the Brute Squad enables readers to keep them straight — no small task in a book with many characters and a complicated plot. And, true to genre, his characterization of Dr. Jessica Decker, the book's BBB (brilliant babe with boobs), positions Harvath to establish his personal code of conduct early on in the story.

"Code of Conduct" is available at The Bookworm of Edwards and other booksellers.

Eagle County resident NLB Horton (NLBHorton.com) is an award-winning author of two successful works of international suspense, "When Camels Fly" and "The Brothers' Keepers." Both are available at The Bookworm of Edwards and at other booksellers, and her third novel will be released in 2016.