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Book Review: The Covert Element by John L. Betcher

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John L. Betcher is an author not keen to rest on his laurels in creative terms. With each Betcher novel the writing quality gets better.

With his latest, The Covert Element, I can safely say that it is better written than the average “airport thriller”. The novel has pace and is genuinely an interesting read.

Furthermore he has toned down some of the “romance” between the main character and his wife. Its there, but not spelled out as it has been in the past novels.

It was always a bit twee for my tastes and distracted from the main storyline. His wife, however, still has a role and her past makes her actions believable.

This novel tells a complicated tale of revenge that comes to those who wait, and is set in Red Wing, Minnesota, to which lead character Becker has retired, but which has also been newly settled by a Mexican drug cartel.

A character whose desire for vengeance turns into what he seeks to end, is fascinating to learn more about.

Oddly enough Becker, on whom the series of books is based, takes a bit of a back-seat to the action in this one. Considering he is a former CIA-wonk rather than an action man this makes perfect sense.

That said, the plot is all too real and the setting is not the stuff of fantasy. The ending might be a tad curt for some, but at least this is no turgid tome.

If you like the author then this is certainly a must-buy. Newbies to series might wish to start with this book and then work their way backwards in the series. This is by far the best yet.

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