Could have been better with a bit more set up
Imagine that James Bond were no longer needed for Her Majesty's Secret Service so they decided to eliminate him so that he couldn't embarrass them later. This is sort of the premise of River of Darkness, except that Jud Stuart is not nearly as suave and debonair as Bond and he works for the American government.
Stuart is a special forces soldier recruited by the CIA during the Vietnam war. He is involved in action in Laos, Iran, the USSR, Washington D.C. and Central America. Finally, he's had enough and decides to use his connections to smuggle drugs into the U.S. and pocket the cash for himself (and eventually becomes a marked man due to nebulous connections to the Iran-Contra scandal).
The first 100 pages or so of this novel are confusing due to a large amount of flashbacks with little or no setup. Once all of the characters are established this is much more tolerable. The flashbacks themselves are very interesting since they involve Stuart's secret missions. The rest of the book, however, is not nearly so interesting.
I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars.
Reviewed in 2004.
"We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read." - Jules Verne
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