Featured Review: ‘The Russian’ by Ben Coes


The Russian Ben Coes HRNew York Times bestselling author Ben Coes (Bloody Sunday, 2018, etc.) kicks off a new spinoff series starring Rob Tacoma—who proves to be every bit as formidable as Dewey Andreas, and then some. 

For Rob Tacoma, it’s personal. A former Navy SEAL and vital member of the CIA’s Special Operations Group, Tacoma was originally raised by his grandparents following the death of his parents, who were murdered at the hands of a couple of Russian mafia thugs. Now, he’s given a shot at retribution when the president of the United States issues a top-secret executive order designed to hit back at the Russians. 

Decades prior, after the fall of the Soviet Union, a wave of criminals made their way to America, where they’re now thriving—acting like kings of the violent underworld they helped build, their reach is a scary reality for all who oppose them, a point that’s proven when two powerful politicians are assassinated on the same night. Senator John O’Flaherty, known as the “Lion” of the Senate among his peers, was shot once in the head, while Governor Nick Black of Florida, the Democratic frontrunner for the upcoming presidential election, was poisoned. All clues point to the Russian mob being behind the high-profile killings, prompting President J.P. Dellenbaugh to take action.

Realizing that the enemy has invaded the United States, forcing America to fight back without its best soldiers and operators in the game, Dallenbaugh issues Executive Order 12-4b3, assembling a hit team of skilled men and women who are tasked with going into the shadows, infiltrating the crime world, and punching back against the mob. While Billy Cosgrove, head of the CIA’s Special Operations Group, is handpicked to head-up the team, Coll tabs Rob Tacoma, who is busy running RISCON, the private security team he founded and co-operates with his partner, Katie Foxx, to be his second in command. 

Eager to spill Russian blood, Tacoma jumps at the chance provided him, but before their operation even gets off the ground, Cosgrove is murdered—his death a direct warning to everyone else involved. With the mafia onto them, Rob must find a way to track down the mob boss behind the trio of killings and make him pay before anyone else dies . . . 

Ben Coes has made a living walking the literary line somewhere between John le Carre and Vince Flynn, constantly churning out high-octane, critically-acclaimed thrillers year after year. This time around, he’s left his comfort zone as a writer to wade into far more noir-like waters, producing a darker story that, while it flashes familiar themes and characters, is quite unlike anything he’s ever done before. That risk pays off in a big way,  as The Russian is some of his strongest work to date and a far cry from the over-played, worn-out plotlines being trotted out by some of the genre’s other top writers. 

Think Clear and Present Danger meets John Wick . . . Ben Coes brings the heat with The Russian, a no-rules, no-limits, punch-to-the-gut of a thriller that takes a blowtorch to the competition and will leave readers begging for a follow-up.

Book Details

Author: Ben Coes
Series: Rob Tacoma #1
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 125014079X
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: July 30, 2019
Book Spy Rating: 9.95/10



Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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