Book Review: Renegade - Mel Odom
Pike Morgan is a true renegade. Orphaned as a child and a veteran of juvenile detention centers and foster homes, he has fashioned himself into a self-contained individual world. The only exception to his self-containment was his fellow renegade Petey, whose headstrong greed resulted in his murder by a drug cartel. Petey's death is a traumatic experience for Pike that haunts him throughout the novel. Chafing against being restricted to one place by the witness protection program, Pike struggles against the personal relationships he is necessarily forming there in spite of himself. So he welcomes his next deployment with the Marine Reserve.Deployed to Afghanistan, Pike distinguishes himself as a fighter. In spite of his resentment of authority, he finds himself developing positive relationships with Corporal Bekah Shaw and Lieutenant Heath Bridger. The three survive a devastating firefight with terrorists in Kandahar. But then they become key players in a frantic search for the terrorist Zalmai Yaqub, who has kidnapped an American journalist and uses him to taunt and bait the US forces.Yaqub is a worthy enemy who possesses the cunning of an experienced warrior, so the supposed rescuers find themselves avoiding perilous traps while desperately trying to stop a decisive terrorist strike. And through it all, Pike grudgingly pursues his unwilling quest to decide what things in life are truly important.
Author Mel Odom knows his subject. He knows the people he writes about in the stateside scenes in Oklahoma, and he shows good knowledge of the Marines' weapons, equipment, and tactics in Afghanistan. The result is a riveting novel that tightens suspense again and again, rising to a fitting and satisfying climax and resolution.
Review by Donn Taylor, author of Deadly Additive, The Lazarus File, Rhapsody in Red, etc., www.donntaylor.com