Since I’m reading through the rough draft of Henry Brown’s next book (It’s good), I thought I’d go back and review his first, Hell and Gone.
Hell and Gone is set just before the opening of Operation Iraqi Freedom, in 2003. The CIA has gotten wind of one of the suitcase nukes that Aleksandr Lebed warned about in the ’90s. It’s in AQ hands, in Sudan. Commander “Rocco” Cavarra, a former SEAL, is hired to head a team of soldiers-for-hire to go in and secure the warhead.
The team is a Dirty Dozen/band of misfits crew. There are some serious personality clashes that ring true to an ad hoc unit thrown together at the last minute.
On the book’s website, Hank compares the book to “The Expendables.” I’d argue that it’s better. The scenario is certainly better thought-out, and involves real-world factions, including the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and the Sudanese Janjaweed militias. The characters also have more in common with real-world veterans than Hollywood stereotypes of mercenaries.
The action is well thought-out and engaging. The final few chapters are well worth the build up, and will keep you flipping pages. The prose does have a few rough edges, but they are more than made up for in the quality of the tale.
Overall, an excellent entry in the genre, and well worth the read.