A white-knuckle action/thriller that reminded me of Alistair MacLean’s finest, Dangerous Games: A Jake Collins Novel by Paul A. Rice (@RiceAuthor) picks up right after the events at the end of Tears in Tripoli (see my review) as former-Special Forces soldier-turned-security-consultant Jake Collins recognizes an extremely dangerous — and thought to be dead — international terrorist in a New York airport.
Old dogs don’t forget their tricks, so Jake follows this terrorist and in the process stumbles into a situation that he’ll need all the years of training and experience acquired working and fighting in some of the world’s worst hellholes to get out of. The stakes aren’t just his life but more importantly the lives of all the people in his life Jake holds dear.
I greatly enjoyed getting to know Jake in Tears in Tripoli, but must say from the onset that in Dangerous Games we’re getting to see a somewhat different side of our narrator-protagonist. His steely determination and quick thinking are again on display but here he’s under enormous pressure, back in post-revolution Tripoli and forced to suppress his emotions while desperately searching for any sliver of a chance to turn the tables. There is really no way to say much more without spoiling the fun for future readers.
In my early teens I stumbled across a paperback copy of Alistair MacLean’s The Guns of Navarone in my school’s library; from the first paragraph I was hooked and in short order I began to read everything of MacLean’s that I could get my hands on. Explosive action, a steady undercurrent of tension, and steely-eyed men placed in impossible situations by forces beyond their control — these are hallmarks of MacLean’s early masterpieces, and readers will find those same attributes in Dangerous Games as well.
A note on the final chapter: I don’t usually read other reviews before preparing my own, but I glanced at one for this book in which the reviewer stated the final pages were totally unnecessary. If looking at just the main plot of Dangerous Games, I don’t disagree the book could conclude with the penultimate chapter — that’s probably where Hollywood would roll the credits, too.
However, as someone who became invested in this character called Jake Collins over the course of two gritty and tense novels, I was glad to spend that final chapter with him. In fact, I’d be happy to spend more time with Jake in the future.
To read more about Mr. Rice and his writing, check out his website.