Without Sanction

In close combat, action always beat reaction.

Don Bentley
Without Sanction


Publisher’s Synopsis:
Defense Intelligence Agency operative Matt Drake broke a promise. A promise that cost three people their lives and crippled his best friend. Three months later, he’s paralyzed by survivor’s guilt and haunted by the memories of the fallen. Matt may have left Syria, but Syria hasn’t left him.

In the midst of his self-imposed exile, Matt is dragged back into the world of espionage and assets that he tried to forget. A Pakistani scientist working for an ISIS splinter cell has created a terrifying weapon of mass destruction. The scientist offers to defect with the weapon, but he trusts just one man to bring him out of Syria alive – Matt Drake.

It’s a suicide mission – one man against an army of terrorists. Still, with stakes this high, Matt has no choice but to try. He’s going in on high alert, but he’s blind to his greatest vulnerability. His most dangerous enemy is closer to home – not on the battlefield, but in the Oval Office.

Point of view:
1st & 3rd. Chapters from Drake’s perspective are 1st, chapters from Peter’s are 3rd.

Rellim’s Thoughts:
I’ve been wanting to listen to this for a while and I’m so glad I made time for it this week. I didn’t realize from the description that the political facet was going to be as much a part of the story as the spy thriller perspective. I have no complaints as these two aspects weaved around and within each other to create an incredibly enjoyable ride.

Bentley opted to pen all of Matt Drake’s chapters in 1st person while all of Peter’s were in 3rd person. I absolutely loved this technique. It made it easy to distinguish the changing perspectives and added an additional depth to their characters and interactions.

While there were times I felt that Drake’s commentary was a bit repetitive – overall I felt that the pacing was well done. I may have occasionally been able to guess the direction the plot or characters were going, but it wasn’t without surprise or unique finesse. I enjoyed the many hurdles that Drake had to accomplish and that he wasn’t a superhero with perfect luck and unbeatable skills. He was a real man who had to overcome obstacles and imperfect executions.

The political wrangling was delightfully frustrating. Given the current times, I especially appreciated that all the political characters were completely fictional and it didn’t feel as being “inspired by” real people.

While Drake is overall successful in his mission, there are definitely doors opened to what promises to be an engaging series. I am absolutely looking forward to The Outside Man in 2021.

This was my first time listening to Jack Armstrong. I really enjoyed his main narration, Drake & Peter’s voices, and his emotional deliveries. Unfortunately his secondary characters left a lot to be desired, especially those from “foreign” countries. Whether they were Syrian, Russian, or from Utah – they had the same accent. Even then they weren’t always consistent. I would be willing to listen to other narrations from him that don’t require these kinds of dynamics, but I’m pretty sure I’ll read the next book in the series.

About the author:
Don Bentley spent a decade as an Army Apache helicopter pilot, and while deployed in Afghanistan was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Air Medal with “V” device for valor. Following his time in the military, Don worked as an FBI special agent focusing on foreign intelligence and counterintelligence and was a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team member.

You can connect with Don Bentley here:

My Favorite Quotes

In close combat, action always beat reaction. – Without Sanction @bentleydonb #Thriller #Political #Spy #MattDrake

I wasn’t sure whether I’d spoken in Arabic or English, though it probably didn’t matter. In my experience, a pistol in the face was pretty universal. – Without Sanction @bentleydonb #Thriller #Political #Spy #MattDrake

Sorry, sir. Your operative is on his own. – Without Sanction @bentleydonb #Thriller #Political #Spy #MattDrake

When I was picturing my rescue, this wasn’t it. – Without Sanction @bentleydonb #Thriller #Political #Spy #MattDrake

This is Syria. Everywhere is trouble. – Without Sanction @bentleydonb #Thriller #Political #Spy #MattDrake

Published by rellimreads

Avid reader/listener who has finally decided to turn it all into a blog...

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