Featured Review: ‘Field of Valor’ by Matthew Betley

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Field of ValorFormer Marine Force Recon platoon commander turned FBI special agent Logan West returns for his third adventure in Field of Valor, Matthew Betley’s most explosive novel to date. 

West, now part of the FBI’s elite unit known as Task Force Ares, is still reeling from the loss of a close friend whose death provided a shock ending to Betley’s last book. Hellbent on bringing down a secret shadow government calling themselves the Organization, West calls on buddy John Quick and Oath of Honor carryover Cole Matthews to help him run down their first real lead in months.

West, Quick, and Cole all head to the National Air and Space Museum in search of a man known as the Recruiter. Instead, they inadvertently walk into an ambush — setting up an entertaining action scene inside the James S. McDonnell Space Hanger. In the midst of the chaos, Logan gets a call from an unknown number. Never one to shy away from a ringing phone (Betley’s fans will appreciate the subtle nod to the opening scene in his first book, Overwatch), West once again impulsively answers the call, sparking deja vu all over again when his doing so kicks off a chain of events that no one could have predicted. 

It turns out that a man from Logan’s past is part of the Organization, and he arranges a meeting with the group’s leader, Constantine Krawcyk-Kallas, who lives in an eye-popping mansion located on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Constantine walks Logan through the Organization’s history, explaining that they’ve long served a valuable purpose — using their cover in the shadows to circumvent laws when necessary, but only for the greater good. They’re plugged in, well-connected, and have a nearly unlimited amount of funds at their disposal.

They also have a serious problem.

One of their members has staged a coup within their ranks and is now acting as a rogue republic with the intention of pitting America against China in an effort to destabilize the world’s economy. 

With a string of attacks being carried out on U.S. soil, Logan West once again finds himself up against a running clock, this time to stop the Organization before it’s too late. But with no idea of how high or wide the corruption goes within his own government, West cannot trust anyone but John and Cole, and this time. . . that might not be enough. 

Betley opens this book with a balls-to-the-wall car chase that has enough bullets, sarcastic one-liners, and suspense to fill an entire novel. While the opening is outstanding, the fact that Betley is able to sustain the energy he opens with throughout the almost four hundred pages is what’s most impressive. The speed of the plot and overall pacing is on point, as Field of Valor shoots out of the gates Top Thrill Dragster-style, before whipping readers around several well-timed twists and turns — all while maintaining its breakneck speeds and wise-cracking ways. 

While the authentic, sarcastic dialogue he’s known for is still his go-to play, Betley proves to have more than just a fastball in his arsenal. When the moment calls for it, he’s able to strategically slow things down in order to really deliver powerful, emotional scenes that add to the story. It’s those kinds of touch passes that show the author’s growth, as Betley continues to prove he’s one of the most talented storytellers in the genre right now. His ability to manipulate readers’ emotions in a variety of ways pays off during one particularly gut-wrenching scene that involves a father and his son. . . which is sure to have plenty of grown men suddenly dealing with fake debris in both of their eyes at the same time.  

Few series feel as tailor-made for the big screen as Betley’s. Whether it’s Logan West cranking up the stereo in his car to provide a little background music to the action scene or John Quick snapping off witty comebacks even in the most high-pressure situations imaginable, everything about Betley’s fictional world screams Hollywood, which is fitting since the author recently announced that Thunder Road has acquired the movie rights to his franchise. 

Fast, hard-hitting, and impossible to put down, Field of Valor is hands-down one of the best action thrillers hitting bookstores in 2018. 

Book Details

Author: Matthew Betley
Series: Logan West #3
Pages: 400 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1501161989
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Release Date: May 22, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 9.75/10

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Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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