Dead Man Switch by Matthew Quirk

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Dead Man SwitchWithout a doubt there is plenty of action in this one. John Hayes is a retired special ops agent for the U.S. government but it seems that he and many former ops agents never retire. They claim to do so and the government claims they are gone but they continue to operate under cover. No one except a few at the very top of the U.S. security system knows how it all works.

This story starts as Hayes is working undercover amongst some Pakistani undercover agents when several U.S. special ops agents are caught by the Pakistani group. One of the special ops agents recognizes Hayes who actually pretends as though he is going to kill the agents. But instead Hayes turns on the Pakistanis and poof the U.S. guys kind of get away. Well, not exactly as the two agents are both pretty well beaten up in their escape. Hayes is even covered by a snow drift caused by the rescuing helicopter’s downdraft.

Hayes is pretty well frozen when he himself is rescued by his boss who pulled all stops to find him and get him back to the U.S. He is supposed to go back into retirement officially but since he is and has always been undercover he is still on call to the top dogs in Washington.

But now he is even in more trouble because the top Pakistani special agent, Niko Hynd, is very upset since losing several of his top agents. And Hynd sets out, undercover, for sure, to the United States to get not only the three agents who were in on the killing of his agents but to also figure out how many and who are these special OPS agents that the U.S. unknowingly is using. Unknowingly to all but those few top U.S. diplomats who plan to keep it that way.

One of Hayes’ protégés from some time back has tried to retire and give up her ops job. However the man she marries turns out first to have been killed. But secondly he comes back and guess what? He is not really her dead husband! No he is an impostor.

Quite a story that is pretty well written although at times it gets so deeply involved in fakes and untruths (needed for the story) that the reader may get bogged down. It also makes one wonder just how our government and other ones manage to do all of this espionage work without divulging identities of the participants. Do we really know who is on our side and who is against us? Read this one and start thinking about it yourself…it is interesting!

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