Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Let's have some Discreet Activities!

   Do you watch some of those crime shows on TV, not the true crime stuff, but those things like Law and Order and CSI? One of the things that always bothers me is when the good guys threaten people with the IRS or something similar to get people's "cooperation". Isn't that a little illegal not to mention a bit like blackmail?  I used to love the shows until I started watching stuff like this go from fiction to reality. Hmmm. Not so much fun anymore. But in truth, most of our 'heros' like Ironman, Spiderman, the A-Team (remember them?), and 007 all operate outside the law and who wouldn't want someone to come and save us when legal channels don't work anymore?  Today's work by Claude Bouchard has just such a group. They work at the fringes of the law to keep us all safe (though the murder was a bit much!) and that is what we want in our heros. This group has lots of Discreet Activities going on. It is what they do, after all.

Discreet Activities
By Claude Bouchard
Publisher: Claude Bouchard (January 29, 2012)
Print Length: 258 pages
ISBN: 0986666556

From Amazon
     As a result of information gathered via electronic surveillance by intelligence agencies in the U.S. and Canada, a budding terrorist organization, the Army for Islam or AFI, is suspected of planning an attack, its target possibly NYC, Burlington, Vermont or even Canada's famed Montreal...
    When four foreign students from Pakistan with known ties to the AFI's Montreal cell arrive in the area on New Year's Eve, Discreet Activities' head, Jonathan Addley, along with Chris Barry and other DA consultants are more than willing to take on the additional workload.
...After two of the DA team members die violently in an AFI related suicide-bombing, the job becomes getting revenge on those responsible for this Holy War...

About the Book:
     The reader is introduced to a group of rather wealthy, well-trained, smart, beautiful people who work in an off the books type agency in Canada.  The focus of this group is to serve and protect the citizens of Canada from all sorts of harm including acts of terrorism.  In this book, the focus is a foursome of Iraqi students who our heroes believe are getting ready to commit a serious crime of terrorism against a target in the USA.
    Meanwhile, as our 'black ops" group is spying on the ski lodge where the foursome is staying and not much happening YET, we learn more about the group through a couple of other ops including chasing down a white collar huckster who made off with millions of other people's money. (Think Burn Notice on TV to get a reference.)
    Back at the lodge, things begin to heat up as the students learn they are being bugged, and the ops group figures out that the students know they are being bugged. The goal of Discreet Activities (as the group was known) is to figure out who is the mastermind of the plot, not to simply stop the crime. But finding the mastermind proves to be harder than they hoped.
     When one of the students finds a murder victim, the whole plot takes on a sinister turn for him. He must not fail to complete his mission and to get the other students to complete theirs. And still the mastermind stands in the shadow for all but that student which makes him the focus of the heroes and the bad guys.

My take:
I did enjoy the story.  The students involved in the plot connected with me as I watch them get deeper into something without realizing what it would ultimately mean. In fact, I think I connected more with them than I did with the other characters, maybe because I could understand how these things happen, how fast simple talk gets out of hand.  That is a big deal coming  from an American who watched the towers burn.  Yet Bouchard writes the young men in such a way that made me want to see them get out of the whole thing without hurting anyone and without being hurt. (I won't tell you how that works out!) The story was well laid out and gave a feel for how intensive but slow surveillance can be. It also shows how things are never what they seem to be creating an interesting story.  This is not the first book by this author, so you might want to read some of the books that preceded Discreet Activities. There is one little thing that might bother some readers. During dialog, Bouchard uses phrases like "Piece of cake," Jeff nodded while Chris...  I did not find this too distracting but some of you might.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes spy type novels with action and good plotting.

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