Friday, January 18, 2013

Red Cell by Richard Marcinko

After the first Rogue Warrior book, Marcinko decided to try his hand at fiction, with himself as the hero. Ahh...even more fictional than the first one.

The story begins in Japan, where Marcinko has a contract to test the security systems at an airport. While he's skulking about, he surprises some North Korean nationals breaking into a crate of nuclear weapons components, and terminates them with extreme prejudice. This stirs things up with his Japanese special forces buddy, Tosho, as well as some of his old contacts with the Navy. Following the trail may lead to some very high places back in Washington, D.C., but, of course, Marcinko is undaunted.

His next gig is to help the CEO of a potential defense contractor and his team of tech-weenies get ready for a war games scenario on the estate belonging to a former SecDef, Griffiths (who is, amazingly, one of those people back in DC who Marcinko suspects of being involved with the weapons smuggling). The team's training exercises and the game, itself, are very amusing, as one of Marcinko's rules of warfare seems to be "cheat whenever possible".

After the successful conclusion of the competition, Marcinko is drafted back into the Navy, in charge of his old Red Cell counterterrorism team, which has fallen on hard times, now that it's run by bean counters instead of real warriors. To bring them up to speed, he runs some more security testing on the naval yard at Seal Beach, where he encounters even more evidence that nuclear arms are being smuggled by someone with powerful connections.

The novel eventually winds to a not very surprising conclusion, with some good murder and mayhem along the way, filled with all the details Marcinko's real world experience can provide. The plot, unfortunately, is not all that gripping. We can only hope his narrative skills improve somewhere down the road in this series.

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