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Seek and Destroy by Alan McDermott

Published by Thomas & Mercer on November 14, 2018

Seek and Destroy is the second novel in Alan McDermott’s Eva Driscoll series, which spins off from his Tom Gray series. The novel is self-contained and can be read as a stand-alone, although it assumes a familiarity with a conspiratorial organization called the ESO and with some of the characters, including Gray, who is “a hero to the right wing” but “a terrorist in the eyes of many.”

Eva Driscoll has been secretly pardoned from the prison sentence she earned by investigating the ESO and her brother’s murder. Her team members took new identities and escaped to presumptive safety, but in India, Farooq Naser has just received a “we found you” video. Eva is in Munich with her lover Carl Huff, but a message from Farooq sparks a reunion of Eva’s team in Europe.

Meanwhile, Henry Langton is on an uncharted island leading a group that is charged with eliminating Eva and her team. That’s not going well so he decides to attack Gray in the hope that Gray will contact Eva’s team for help. Then he plans to follow the team members as they lead him to Eva. The plan doesn’t seem particularly plausible but plausibility is never a strong point in thrillers of this nature.

Eliminating Eva isn’t easy because Eva, like most action heroes, is indestructible. In one scene, armed just with a handgun, she takes out eight armed men. Yes, she gets a boo-boo on her cheek, but there’s never a sense that Eva is actually at risk. The same is true when Gray, Eva, and some expendables assault Langston’s island. They easily take out more than twice their number of trained mercenaries and sure, a couple of expendables don’t make it, but the reader will not work up a sweat worrying about the central characters.

Whether Eva qualifies as an action “hero” depends, I suppose, on whether the reader thinks a vengeful killer who assassinates unarmed technicians because they assisted a bad guy is justified in her lawlessness. Not to be outdone, Gray puts some gratuitous bullets in an unarmed character who is bleeding to death because he figures death alone isn’t a sufficient punishment for his misbehavior. I didn’t care much for the self-righteous avenger attitudes of Driscoll and Gray but readers who confuse self-righteous anger with morality might like them.

The novel justifies its title with a good amount of travel and destruction, as Driscoll and her team make their way to Mexico to arm themselves so they can launch an underwater attack on Langston’s island to rescue Gray’s kid, where she is being held hostage. The island invasion is preposterous, but that’s the nature of modern action thrillers. The travel gives the novel the story a certain amount of atmosphere.

McDermott writes fluidly and the novel maintains the kind of pace that action thrillers need. He takes time to give Eva and Gray personalities, even if the personalities are fairly standard and not particularly admirable. The conspirators are playing the long game, infiltrating government and hoping to place one of their own in the American presidency, an overdone premise that has become tiresome. Nothing about Seek and Destroy allows it to rise near the top of the mountain of books just like it. Die-hard action novel fans and followers of the Tom Gray series might want to read it, but other thriller fans can find better books to occupy their time.


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