Middle East Thriller
By Claude Berube
Navel Institute Press, $27.95, 272 pages
Set in Yemen, The Aden Effect, stars a court-marshaled Navy lieutenant commander who is called back for active duty. Now, Commander Connor Stark is assigned as a defense attaché to the ambassador of Yemen. His mission: to mend strained diplomatic relations with the oil rich country. Unfortunately, the pirates who patrol the Gulf of Aden have a different assignment. They want him dead.
“For some reason Golzar’s thoughts drifted to the fall of Rome. When the Roman Empire became too rich and too bloated for Romans to defend, Rome contracted out its security and warfare to border tribes. That cost the empire dearly. Visigoth leaders such as Alaric served under Roman commanders and turned on their masters. Golzari liked to think of himself as representing the modern Praetorian Guard designed to protect the emperor and government. That would make the mercenary Stark the new form of Visigoth.”
Author Claude Berube does an excellent job of keeping the story moving. He pairs Stark with an Iranian born American diplomatic security agent for instant tension. While the two have much in common, the increase in testosterone makes for compelling character development.
Like all military thrillers, the main female character—who in this case is the ambassador to Yemen—is slender, wears pastels, and eventually makes advances on our hero. Also like most military thrillers, Berube utilizes many, many military acronyms. However, he does not define them on initial presentation. Readers of military thrillers will recognize most of them, the average person will not.
The plot is deftly woven and enjoyable for the most part, but the pieces that don’t fit will stifle the astute reader. With action suited for the screen, the story may find its niche in Hollywood.
Reviewed By Sheli Ellsworth