I read Bob Shepherd’s rather good memoir “The Circuit” earlier this year (I think), and so was amenable to reading his stab at the Andy McNab/Chris Ryan style of “ex-Special Forces guy being double-crossed by his own side” actioners . And this novel is a perfectly competent example of the genre, perhaps a bit better (it’s been a long time since I could read one of them).
It opens with your standard military fuck-up and dark-deeds in Baghdad in 2006, which leads to Matt Logan resigning from the SAS, and the military altogether. So, needing cash, he ends up… in Afghanistan, as a media minder.
Readers of the Circuit will be unsurprised to learn that Shepherd (and Sabga) relate, with every indication of knowing what they are talking about, the mechanics and motivations in both the military and media worlds. And there are, of course, wheels within wheels, and double-dealing and untrustworthy Americans. Who knew.
Along the way, the reader learns just enough about the internal politics of Pakistan/Baluchistan to be able to nod knowingly when they encounter articles like “Dirty war poses challenge to the future legitimacy of Pakistan” (FT, 27 May 2012).
If you’re into thrillers ripped from “tomorrow’s headlines,” and descriptions of weaponry and tactics less offensively blustery and doe-eyed than those of Lee “Jack Reacher” Child, then the Shepherd/Sabga combo is well worth a look.
see also “The Good Terrorist” by Doris Lessing, which I will review at SOME point