Without Sanction is a thrill ride with intense action in the Middle East and political maneuvering in the Oval Office. A team of CIA opperatives infiltrates a base in Syria only to find evidence of WMDs. Three of the four soldiers are killed and the fourth is taken prisoner. Cabinet infighting and the return of DIA agent Matt Drake conflict in a ramp-up of tension. The Oval Office vs the boots on the ground.
Weeks before, Drake had resigned and turned in his piece, but is called back in by his commanding officer. A former informant named Einstein has reached out to Drake saying that he is involved in making the chemical weapons and knows where the American is being held. But, he only wants to deal with Drake. He returns to the service despite hallucinations brought on by PTSD and the guilt of the failure of his last mission. He’s thrown back into the sandbox against the many factions vying for power, including those in Washington who may not be entirely on his side.
Matt Drake is a character who I am willing to follow. I love a series with a detective/ soldier/ investigator who is focused just as much on the task at hand as they are on overcoming some sort of demons inside. Bentley has a gift of getting inside a character’s head and allowing the reader to experience the raw emotions of combat and civilian life. It is important that Drake’s chapters’ are told in 1st person POV, but the other are told in 3rd person. The reader experiences the immediacy of combat and the suffering of it’s aftermath.
My only criticism would be just a personal one. Like so many, I am tired of the infighting in Washington in the real world, and I think it affected my enjoyment of those sections of the book. The dishonesty and selfishness puts Americans lives in jeopardy. The sick personal plays behind closed doors are done so well, that it just made me angry. I guess this is as much a compliment as it is a criticism!
A quick-paced military thriller that introduces a character who fans will want to learn more and more about.
4 out of 5 stars.
Thank you to Edelweiss, Penguin Books, and the author for an advanced copy for review.