Red Agenda by Cameron Poe
Published by BookBaby on April 16, 2018
Genre(s): fiction, action, thriller
Format & Length: paperback, 434
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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 develops an unlikely plan to procure a nuclear-powered submarine. If all goes as intended, the Middle East will destabilize and the 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 world-wide 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.
Red Agenda is a political/spy thriller set in present day that has old school Tom Clancy vibes. In particular, with a focus on the United States versus Russia and a submarine chase, this reminded me strongly of The Hunt for Red October.
I really enjoyed the overall story told here. The plotting was strong, with plenty of intrigue and weaving several characters’ storylines together extremely well to come together for a satisfying story. The cast of characters was fairly large and some were more thought out than others. Due to all the set up required for all of the perspectives, this took a bit to get into, but once they were established the story really got going and kept a steady pace straight to the end. Poe didn’t leave any plot lines hanging, bringing the reader a fulfilling sense of closure upon completion.
In the end, though, the writing style of this book was simply not to my taste. Several sections had a lot of explanation where I would have preferred to see action. Descriptions of nudity and sex had me cringing with their awkwardness. And I found the treatment of the few female characters to be severely lacking.
That all being said, I think there is an audience for Red Agenda. If you’re a fan of political thrillers or spy novels and prefer your stories stronger on plot, this might be right up your alley.
*Many thanks to Smith Publicity for providing an advance copy of this edition in exchange for an honest review.