Brad Thor's "Blowback" is an action-packed spy thriller about the complex world of international terrorism, biological warfare, religious fanaticism, and political corruption. The macho hero is Scot Harvath, a former SEAL who works for the Office of International Investigative Assistance in the Department of Homeland Security. He has repeatedly sacrificed his personal happiness and peace of mind in order to serve his country. Scott's archenemy is Khalid Sheik Alomari, a high-ranking al-Qaeda operative and ruthless assassin. Alomari has been traveling around the world killing Muslim scientists who may have unlocked the key to a devastating super weapon.
This scenario plays out against the background of a vicious power struggle between an ambitious Democratic senator named Helen Carmichael and Republican President Jack Rutledge. Carmichael will do anything to unseat the popular president, and she has been secretly compiling damaging information about Rutledge in order to turn public opinion against him. Scott Harvath soon becomes Carmichael's pawn in her scheme to destroy President Rutledge.
"Blowback" is timely story that is "ripped from the headlines," with references to people and organizations that we read about in the news every day. Brad Thor provides well-researched and detailed background information about the Muslim world, and he explores the many ways in which the United States is battling the terrorist threat posed by radical fundamentalists. Scot Harvath's courage, knowledge of weaponry, and unerring instincts make him a worthy and appealing hero, and for a change, the author doesn't provide his protagonist with a love interest to distract him from his duties. Although Scot does have a beautiful and brainy partner, a molecular biologist named Dr. Jillian Alcott, his relationship with her is strictly platonic. Jillian provides the scientific expertise that Scot needs in order to fight a terrifying biological weapon that may soon be unleashed against the United States.
At over four hundred pages, this novel is a bit too long. However, Thor keeps the narrative from dragging by shifting rapidly between characters in far-flung locales, such as France, England, Cyprus, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, and Washington, D. C. You may need a scorecard to keep tabs on who is doing what to whom and why. However, "Blowback" packs an undeniable wallop, especially in light of the very real dangers that we face in today's frightening and unpredictable world.