Don't expect to see Andy McNab's photograph on the cover of his first thriller, Remote Control--the former British Special Air Service agent says both the Colombian drug cartel and the Provisional IRA still have contracts out on him. His two nonfiction books, Bravo Two Zero and Immediate Action, give more detail about his prolific past.
Remote Control is the fictional story of an SAS agent named Nick Stone, who is on the case of two Irish terrorists. He follows them across the Atlantic to Washington, D.C., but is suddenly ordered back home on the next available flight. His old mate Kevin Brown, now with the Drug Enforcement Agency, lives near the airport, so Nick decides to drop in. He finds a slaughterhouse: Kev, his wife, and youngest daughter have been battered to death, but daughter Kelly has survived in a special hideout. Prying information from the shocked child, Nick links the killers to either the CIA, the DEA, or his own organization--which means that he and Kelly are virtually on their own. As Nick trundles the spunky youngster from one seedy motel to another, stuffs her with junk food, and teaches her the rudiments of spy craft, he also begins to piece together a picture of why Kevin and his family were killed. There is a connection between a terrorist bomb scare in Gibraltar in 1988, the Colombian drug cartel, and high-level intelligence-agency skullduggery. McNab keeps dropping those shiny nuggets of believability along the trail and winds up holding our attention until the predictable but satisfying end. --Dick Adler