Title: In From the Cold
Author: J.T. Rogers
Publisher: DSP Publications
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Genre(s): Action / Adventure, Espionage, Historical
Page Count: 236
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Robert Flynn abandoned a sterling military career when his best friend and fellow soldier, Wesley Pike, died under his command. More than a decade later, Flynn’s quiet life is disturbed by the troubles of a fledgling CIA and Alexander Grant, a flashy agent with a lot to prove. As the space race between the United States and the Soviets heats up and the body count rises, the two men fight to find common ground. Grant knows Flynn believes in the cause, but all Flynn sees is the opportunity to fail someone like he failed Wes. An attack by a Soviet agent spurs Flynn to action and a reluctant association with the agency, and tilts Flynn’s world on its axis with a shocking discovery: Wesley Pike may be alive and operating as a Soviet assassin.
With Grant to bankroll the operation, his superiors looking the other way, and Flynn’s hard-earned peace officially forfeit, Flynn reunites his old team with the singular goal of finding Wes. But they get more than they bargained for—Wes is amnesiac and dangerous, brainwashed into becoming the perfect weapon. Flynn struggles to reach his friend, lead his team, and navigate his charged relationship with Grant—something neither of them expected and aren’t sure how to parse—while coming to grips with his long-buried feelings for Wes.
It’s 1957 and Rob Flynn is a baker in Brooklyn … a far cry from his wartime heroics with the 1st Special Service Force, a joint Canadian-American elite commando unit, also known as the Devil’s Brigade. Flynn is a West Point graduate who walked away from the military after his best friend, Wesley Pike, was killed during a parachute jump from a C-46 taking enemy fire over Germany in the final months of the war.
Enter CIA agent Alexander Grant, who is looking to recruit Flynn as an “operative to lead a field team tasked with gathering intelligence and neutralizing threats on American soil” after the early December 1957 launch failure of the Vanguard rocket, possibly due to Soviet espionage. When it appears that Wes Pike did NOT die and is now a Soviet assassin, Flynn cobbles together a band of ex-Forcemen to bring their friend back home.
What follows is a gripping adventure along the lines of a great buddy / war movie (think “The Guns of Navarone” or “The Dirty Dozen”) mixed with a dash of “The Manchurian Candidate.” The author does a wonderful job with the 1950’s setting and has done a good deal of research, as well as creating richly-developed characters (Grant, Flynn, Pike) and a large cast of secondary characters. There are no on-page explicit sex scenes, but the chemistry between Grant and Flynn, and Flynn and Wes, is palpable, and tender emotions and longing are beautifully expressed. I must admit it took me a few chapters to really get into the story, but once I got hooked, I finished the book in one sitting.
“In From the Cold” is J.T. Roger’s first novel (accepted by the first publisher she sent it to!) and it is a great premier. The book ends with the conclusion of one aspect of their mission, but also ends with the personal relationships still to be determined. Rogers has left a lot of intriguing aspects unaddressed and I really look forward to additional books in The Castoffs series!
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