Foreword Reviews


Clarion Rating: 3 out of 5

Missions is a political thriller featuring a bleak fight against mass terrorism and violence.

In Marc McGuire’s thriller Missions, a computer geek wages a lonely fight against injustice, bureaucratic corruption, and religious terrorism.

Doyle is a computer scientist who does contract work for the CIA. He’s an earnest sort—of the type who believes in patriotism and doing the right thing. These beliefs are put to the test after a massive terror attack is carried out in Paris. The attack receives the attention of both American and French intelligence services. Though at the periphery of the CIA, Doyle becomes involved, too.

Its plot smart and realistic, drawing on the fact that Paris has endured several religiously motivated terrorist attacks in the last decade, the book also grapples with popular distrust of America’s intelligence agencies. Against this backdrop, Doyle is a complicated hero who spends much time exposing duplicity within the CIA.

Doyle, portrayed as an average American who does unusual work, begins to question his belief after watching CIA agents interrogate and torture an innocent man. After defining anti-terrorism and terrorism as two secular religions that demand blind obedience, thus equating the CIA with groups like ISIS, Doyle refuses to forgive himself for staying silent; his act of moral cowardice haunts him.

Other characters are less complicated. The book’s Muslim characters either exemplify terrorism in Western Europe or are drawn with sympathy in their anti-terrorism roles as interpreters and agents. A French intelligence agent, Christine, is hardboiled and cynical, but at least not amoral like most of the CIA officers around her.

Chapters are short and are set in captivating locales like Paris, the various “war rooms” of the US government, and the migrant neighborhoods of Western Europe. The writing tends to be terse when it comes to all situations except for those involving Doyle, whose scenes are fraught with inner turmoil and inner questioning. Doyle is the chatterbox who moves the story forward; others function in ways that are much more circumspect.

Chapters move back and forth through time, and most take place months before the terror attack. The book opens with the attack and ends with it, concluding with a sense of having begun a series, and the repeat is jarring and non-cathartic. Because there is so much more to come, this entry’s ending is unfulfilling.

Missions is a political thriller featuring a bleak fight against mass terrorism and violence.

Reviewed by Benjamin Welton

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the publisher will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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