Countdown to Armageddon – “State of Emergency” by Marc Cameron

Our intrepid hero OSI agent Jericho Quinn is again tasked with saving the free world. Only this time it’s from a nuclear dirty bomb meant to obliterate a children’s choir and everything else within a city-wide radius and extending far beyond. Quinn is assisted by Marine Gunnery Sgt Thibodeaux and Veronica Garcia who’s is now an OSI Agent-in-Training, and his younger brother Boaz (aka Bo). Rounding out his entourage is Russian operative Aleksandra Kanatova. Quinn’s assignment is to get close to the Venezuelan playboy wannabe who is the go-between for some Chechens and a middle easterner who are all competing to get the bomb onto U.S. soil. Convoluted enough for you? Yeah, me too.

It is a multi-tiered plot that encompasses a grueling week-long motocross race in South America which, with Quinn’s bike skills and love for the sport, is right up his alley. But the arms race extends far beyond the course and takes Quinn and Aleksandra deep into the Amazon basin as they chase the Venezuelan arms dealer Valentine Zamora, believing he either has the dirty nuke or can lead them to it. The clock is ticking and Quinn must get to it before the alarm goes off.

“State of Emergency” is Marc Cameron’s third book in his Jericho Quinn series and while it has some good action I didn’t find it as compelling as the first two books. Cameron’s portrayal of the bad guy Valentine Zamora is almost cartoonish, from his pencil-thin moustache and silly giggle to his womanizing manner that doesn’t conceal a mile-wide cruel streak. If that moustache had been curled, he would’ve been twirling the ends to complete the image that my mind conjured as I read about his exploits. As always, Quinn gets himself into some seemingly impossible situations and manages to come out virtually unscathed. And that’s okay because we don’t want to see him mortally wounded, do we? Three and a half stars. .

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