Aging ex-CIA desk jockey Max Bowman left the agency disillusioned, but he’s so good at what he does, finding people and information, he is still given the occasional freelance job. When he’s asked to look into the case of First Lieutenant Robert Davidson, supposedly killed by a sniper in Afghanistan, but whose father, a retired war hero, believes is not really dead, he finds himself up to his neck in a conspiracy that reaches high in the defense and intelligence hierarchy.
The more he investigates, the more convinced Max is that the dying old general is right; if for no other reason, someone is trying very hard to turn him off the investigation, to the point of murdering the people who could shed light on the situation. Behind it all is an enigmatic, shadowy organization, Dark Sky, a private paramilitary organization that receives significant government funding, but manages to keep its activities under secure wraps.
Dark Sky by Joel Canfield is the first offering in the ‘Misadventures of Max Bowman’ series, and it’s a fantastic kickoff to stories featuring an unconventional non-hero and peers deeply into the machinations of the military-industrial complex and the byzantine activities of power-hungry officials. Action and humor, and down-to-earth dialogue provide a thoroughly entertaining read for a cold winter’s day, or a hot summer’s day for that matter. Warning for the sensitive reader, the dialogue is real, meaning that you’re likely to encounter words and phrases your mother wouldn’t approve of. But then, your mother was probably never in the military, right. That’s the way real people talk.
I give Canfield five stars for this solid offering.