Rising Pheonix is an ambitious novel; unfortunately, it just doesn't have the ring of authenticity of, say, someone like Frederick Forsyth or Richard Herman, Jr. I believe the problem is that the author is still too young and experienced to tackle the characters and subject matter and make the story real. The characters aren't mature or complex enough, the locations don't come alive like they should, many of the descriptions are off-kilter, and events seem shoehorned into the story to make the plot work (Hobart's escapades in Colombia, especially, are hard to swallow). Another major flaw is the fact that we get very little in the way of technical details, the nuts-and-bolts operations of the various organizations that come into play here. When I read a political thriller, I want insight that encompasses the big picture, not endless details into the pointless quirks and habits of the characters.
But I think the main problem is that the basic premise is flawed. To poison a large shipment of drugs would not solve the drug problem in this country-- too many addicts would keep using or switch to other drugs, and such a ploy would not bring the multi-billion dollar drug industry to its knees. Not only that, we really don't get a sense of the huge tragedy that tens of thousands of drug deaths across the country would be (Noone who is rich and famous becomes a victim? Hmmm.), not to mention the myriad social ramifications such an event would cause.
And finally, no FBI agent-- no matter how good he is-- would accept a gift from a drug-dealing Mafioso, or he wouldn't last long with the Bureau.
Pet Peeve Dept: "Ahold" is not a word.