I am a fan of Ludlum but think most of the books farmed out under his name since his death are not exactly quality. The Covert One series however is an exception to that view however, possibly because they are upfront about it being inspired and organized by him but written by others so I'm not expecting Ludlum, just something in the vein of. This being said I have read all the Covert One novels and enjoyed them and this one is no exception.
However, of course there is a however, this book takes a bit of departure from the previous books in the series and suffers a bit because of it. In the earlier works of what I call a thriller-action series the accent was on the thriller. The protaganist, Dr Jon Smith, was basically a doctor and scientist with the US Army who, due to circumstances, became a part time intelligence agent in a very loose knit agency, Covert One, which basically was a number of people like Dr Smith tied together though the agency's head, Fred Klein. The stories progressed with Jon Smith using his intelligence and wits to try to find a solution to the crisis threatening the US and having enough physical ability and training, and some friendly help, to fight his way out of the occasional physical attempt to stop him to add some action to the thriller. The plot itself was mainly carried through the fact that as he progressed in solving the mystery he was usually dead ended somewhere along the line due to something or someone necessary to the next step disappearing, usually violently, and causing Dr Smith to backtrack and find another path. The suspense came from wondering how was he going to find the solution, was he going to find it it time to prevent major catastrophe (You know he's going to save the world but that doesn't mean thousands might not die before hand) and how was the seemingly omniscient villan was going to slip up. Also there is sometimes the fact that one does not know who is behind the plot to add to the suspense.
In this novel though the solving of the mystery is a lot more straight forward. THe suspense, instead of coming through the solving of the mystery is maintained by how Jon Smith is going to get out of the latest trap. Yes, as I said the action takes precedence in this book and instead of finding dead ends as he goes about his investigation Dr Smith usually finds a trap waiting for him. I think there are as many attempts on his life in this book alone as there were in all the previous novels combined. To me this plot device, while not making it a bad read, takes away from the premise. It causes Dr Smith to become more of a man of action, the typical spy protaganist, rather than the unique individual he was. It also starts to put a strain on believability. While one has to let one's imagination have free rein in reading any story like this one does usually have certain bounds and the hero escaping from too many attempts to kill him starts to tax those limits.
Also Covert One, in this novel, seems to become a more typical spy agency than it was in the previous books. While you knew it had to have resources and some full time employees they were behind the scenes, so to speak. The idea was presented that it was a loose knit operation of a number of people like Jon Smith, mobile cyphers as it were, who were mainly unaware of one another with full time professions elsewhere, who stepped up to the plate when called upon. IOW, a small highly secret organization used only for special occasions. In this book however, while not really overt about it Covert One seems to be becoming the more typical major type agency with the kind of payroll and resouces of the CIA or Ludlum's Cons Ops.
I don't know why the book took this turn as Patrick Larkin had written an earlier Covert One book. Could it be that the publisher's wish to switch to a more stereotypical formula figuring on greater appeal, that the action will draw more readers than the thriller? Guess we will find out in future books if these paths are followed. To me however, while still a good read it detracts from the uniqueness of both Jon Smith and Covert One themselves.