Sunday 3 June 2018

Montrose County

Finished May 23
Montrose County by Bill Greenwood

This thriller follows more than one set of characters, and includes a past timeline for one of them. The chapter headings helpfully give place of action and timeline, and the author also uses quick phrases to link events together between characters. The first character we see is a woman, Sabrina Murdoch, waking from a recurring dream she has related to the past. It's just a glimpse, and we move on to another set of charcters, very far away.
These are a pair of Canadian soldiers working as a remote commando force. Mike Buffalo and Brad Hall have worked together before, and are a good team. They are one of several sniper teams tracking Islamic State fighters, and so far the most successful in terms of hits. The drones that work with these units are operated out of Nellis AFB in Nevada, managed by Lt. Col. Tony Benedetto. As they check in after their hit, they are informed that satellite phones, satellite GPS, and drone coverage will not be available for the next day or so due to an expected solar flare. They are also asked to check on the ground result of a hit on a building where some type of meeting seemed to be happening.
The two capable men make their way by maps and orienteering to the specified site, But there they find something bigger and more disturbing than they would ever have guessed, and circumstances mean they have to use all their creativity and skill to convey what they found back to base.
The next group of people we see are some well-meaning American, intent on doing right by those less lucky in their life situation. Unfortunately, they are a bit too trusting, and in this case, people with bad ulterior motives have taken advantage of their kind hearts. Similar situations play out with other components needed for the planned crime.
Back to the first character, Sabrina, who works in the titled Montrose County in Colorado as a deputy. She has worked there for a couple of years. She has the duty of driving a prisoner over the courthouse. On the way over, she encounters a truck slightly damaged by an encounter with wildlife, and is faced with a situation that she finds difficult to deal with. When she makes it to Ouray, she has a moment to chat with a county deputy that she has begun a relationship with, Rick Sanchez.
We gradually learn of Sabrina's interactions with the locals, including an older rancher named Del and his wife. Del understands her and some of her baggage, because he is a Vietnam vet. At one point, we have a flashback to several years earlier to an intense firefight that Sabrina was involved in while in Iraq and we understand the source of her anxiety and dreams.
As we follow the events with Buffalo and Halls and with Murdoch and others in her area, we gradually move closer to the time of the planned crime, and the suspense builds.
I really enjoyed this thriller, and the way the author gradually revealed the characters to us, giving us a real sense of who they were. The use of humour, creativity, and military detail all made this book a page turner for me. Highly recommended.

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