Featured Review: ‘The Island’ by Ben Coes


Ben Coes makes a statement with his latest high-concept, action-packed thriller . . . in a genre dominated by names like Rapp, Allon, and Harvath—don’t forget about Dewey Andreas.

In the years following 9/11, a well-connected terror group has been planning a revenge attack on American soil, and with the President of the United States set to address the U.N and deliver a high-profile speech, their evil leader launches a new plan to bring America crumbling to its knees.

That is the setup for Coes’ highly-anticipated ninth Dewey Andreas thriller (following 2018’s Bloody Sunday), which opens with a resounding bang—literally—and never lets up from there.

After walking into a brutal scene at a local Washington D.C., restaurant, Dewey—who had just relived the horrors of his long career at the CIA while riding his motorcycle through the empty streets—is forced to suddenly defend himself from a violent attack. As the bullets fly, Dewey does what he does best, dishing out pain on his way to obtaining the truth: that he was the intended target. That revelation, as the CIA tries to make sense of what’s going on and who wants their top operator dead, forces the agency to send Dewey off the grid while they do a deep analysis of the situation. Though reluctant, he agrees and is transported to a secret location where he’ll await further instructions.

Meanwhile, CIA Director Hector Calibrisi becomes increasingly concerned about an attack pattern taking shape in New York City, where beloved President J. P. Dellenbaugh has just arrived ahead of his big speech. However, before the FBI or CIA can organize and make sense of the intel, all hell breaks loose as the terrorists strike a coordinated attack on bridges and tunnels, designed to cut off Manhatten from the rest of the world, and more importantly, various law enforcement agencies—rendering them unable to respond.

As often is the case, laying low doesn’t exactly work for Dewey. While onboard a yacht off the NYC shoreline (which is described as a “castle on the water”), he sees the explosions rocking the island and springs to action. Making his way to the U.N. building, where an attempt to exfil POTUS is already underway—and where things quickly go from bad to worse—Dewey arrives just in time to save Dellenbaugh. The victory, however, will be short-lived if he can’t find a way to evade the terrorists long enough for backup to arrive. But as the plot unfolds, it becomes clear that the terror organization has another target. One that that, should it fall, could have even greater consequences than the death of a sitting US president . . .

Though the plot may seem similar to Brad Thor’s Takedown (2004), the better comparison might be the Gerard Butler-led action flick London Has Fallen (2016), with a dash of Die Hard With a Vengence (1995) thrown in there for good measure. There are a lot of moving parts and shifting POVs, but Coes does a masterful job tieing it all together without sacrificing pacing. The Island moves quickly, and like a well-practiced orchestra, all the notes—action, suspense, character development, misdirection, and a smart plot that refuses to give itself away too quickly—come together in perfect harmony for a reading experience that is unmatched, and not to be missed. The takedown sequence where Manhattan falls is both riveting and terrifying, as Coes’ plot tends to, at times, feel a bit too real for comfort. That said, the author has once again found the perfect scenario to let his John Cena-sized hero thrive, and as the action ramps up, Coes unleashes Dewey like never before.

It’s crazy to think that it’s been a full three years since the last Dewey Andreas thriller, but Ben Coes doesn’t miss a beat here. Knowing what his readers want, Coes serves up a double helping of action to go with one of his better plotlines, and there’s no question that this is his finest work to date.

The Island, a timely, fast-paced thriller, should be on everyone’s reading list in 2021.


Book Details

Author: Ben Coes
Pages: 432 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1125014082X
Series: Dewey Andreas #9
Release Date: August 17, 2021
Real Book Spy Rating: 9.0/10


Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Ryan Steck 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. Additionally, he co-hosts ThrillerTalk, a new podcast with K.J. Howe. 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.

Facebook Comments