A Book Spy Review: ‘A Red Dotted Line’ By Simon Gervais

simon-gervais-a-red-dotted-lineA different type of secret agency is taking on a dangerous new threat, and there’s no room for error. 

Mike and Lisa Walton work for a private security organization called the International Market Stabilization Institute. Operating outside of the official channels, IMSI’s chief concern is to protect North America’s financial interests, and the Waltons are two of their best operatives. 

Following an assassination attempt on the life of IMSI’s director, Mike and Lisa are given orders to head to Russia, where they will follow up on an important lead. However, the mission goes south in a hurry when their cover is blown and their true identities and intentions are exposed. 

On the run from multiple threats, including Sheik, a terrorist whom Mike and Lisa have some personal history with, the Waltons use their training and mission savvy to stay alive and keep after their objective.  

Where Gervais excels is making his characters and series different from others. Mike Walton, for example, is not your typical leading action hero. Instead, he’s much more human, often relying on his smarts over physical force. He also suffers from some anxiety, which, as you might imagine, makes his job as a field operative much harder. 

After being separated, Mike and Lisa start chasing different leads, which eventually add up to the same terrifying conclusion. An old Soviet Union biological warfare agency, previously thought to have been disbanded, is actually still active. In fact, they’ve developed a new biological agent that, once weaponized, will be unlike anything else unleashed on humanity. 

With a plan to unleash the weapon on America, Mike and Lisa Walton’s new mission is to stop that from happening at all costs. Period. 

In a genre where pretend government black-ops agencies and off-the-books programs are overplayed and cliché, the International Market Stabilization Institute is unique and intriguing. They’re a Manhattan-based firm founded by billionaires, doing government work but from a distance that gives the government complete deniability. Plus, they utilize next-gen tech that is lightyears ahead of what anyone else is using. 

Having worked as a federal agent for the Canadian government, Gervais writes with gripping authenticity, and his been-there-done-that experience lends itself nicely to the pages. His series falls somewhere between Brad Taylor’s Pike Logan series and James Rollins’ Sigma Force franchise. And the next-gen technology mixes well with the flying bullets and many action sequences. 

There are a few twists and turns along the way, but for the most part, Gervais’ story, like his simple writing style, is straightforward with even pacing throughout. Because an intelligent plot requires explanation, expect a few down moments. The author does a nice job getting back to the action, but if there’s a weakness, it would be that new readers might find themselves a little lost, especially early on. 

While the characters, particularly Mike, are developed from the first book, his backstory is a little short here and will likely leave new readers scrambling to understand exactly who he is and what makes him tick. That can easily be avoided, though, simply by reading The Thin Black Line before diving into this book. 

With plenty of intrigue and suspense, mixed with a well-planned story that features Mike and Lisa Walton chasing down multiple leads to thwart an attack on the United States, Simon Gervais’ sophomore novel is a big leap up from his 2015 debut and a fun adventure that reads fast and will keep your heart racing. 

Book Details

Author: Simon Gervais 
Series: Mike Walton #2
Pages: 320 (Paperback)
ISBN: 1611882354
Publisher: Story Plant 
Release Date: November 8, 2016 (Order Now!)

 

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