Chapter by Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at the time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as a read-along book club.
We’re back to multiple chapters in this book. I’m not sure when or if there will be another full-length chapter but I’m prepared for that. At any rate, the bombing happened, but now it’s time to deal with the aftermath and find the guilty party. We have four chapters again in which to move the story along.
- Chapter 13: Tuesday, 5:25 AM, Quantico Marine Corps Air Station, VA: Four full-ish pages, because the top of the first page has the title, but I’ll take it
- Chapter 14: Tuesday, 7:30 PM, Seoul: six pages, which is close
- Chapter 15: Tuesday, 5:55 AM, Washington, DC: three pages, but given the spacing reads like two
- Chapter 16: Tuesday, 8:00 PM, the Sea Of Japan: three pages
So I’m guessing we’ll be checking in with our bad guys. I wonder how old Eyepatch is doing?
So after the grieving widower and the war room, we get people fighting in a pool. You know, that game where the girlfriends, or in this case kids, sit on the guys’ shoulders and they try to knock one kid off of the shoulders of the other person? But this is to set up the lives of Op-Center’s strike team, so apparently they also send people into the field to fight. The Strikers are a team that it sounds like are made up of different military branches, like a budget G.I. Joe team (only twelve people, one of which isn’t even going on this mission). I’m guessing Op-Center is more than an intelligence group.
Back at the bombing investigation, Gregory Donald is still out of it but trying to contribute. It’s something to focus on besides his dead wife, until near the end where the guy telling him to call Op-Center brings her up. In the meantime, they find the bootprints and one of the discarded drink bottles. As they started talking about the bootprints I began to piece together why Eyepatch and his pals changed boots. Donald, Hwan, and the forensics man are just starting to suspect something is off. This has all the markings of a set-up. Someone wants to frame North Korea for the bombing. They specifically changed into the boots to show the North Korean boots (but forgot to give any of them any proper wear, which is where our heroes get suspicious, but had their own boots to escape with, so they wouldn’t be followed to their escape point, which would be sending them to Japan.
Now as I write all that I’m beginning to figure that someone involved with that pachinko parlor is involved, but I’m still not clear what the endgame is just yet. This is turning into a mystery story, which is kind of neat.
The next chapter feels like an unnecessary subplot, as Hood gets a call that his son is in the hospital just after hearing they found Donald. It seems the boy’s breathing issue has gotten worse and he’s under observation. I’m guessing they wanted to add a little personal drama for Hood but I’m worried it’s going to be a distraction. I think the dead wife would be enough human drama.
The final chapter adds to the mystery, as two North Koreans (it doesn’t say it’s either of Eyepatch’s friends) are killed in a way that would indicate a Yakuza hit by two assassins who steal the money and take a plane that (once out of sight of the ship) heads to North Korea. I’m wondering if this is all tied to that anti-unification talk earlier. I’m reminded of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, where a small group of Federation and Klingon operatives joined forces to stop any chance of peaceful relations between the two sides, which is possibly irony. (Darn you, Alanis!) Could that be what’s happening here, is it just a bunch of North Koreans who want to avoid the South, or something else?
I don’t expect we’ll learn the answer next time since it’s a bit quick. If you’ve read the book don’t ruin it for me. I want to see if I figure this out before the reveal, which is how one tends to read a mystery story. This just happens to be one bathed in political intrigue. I’m still waiting for a full explanation of what Op-Center does. It seems to be a monitoring group, but then they have their own special ops team…I’m hoping more is explained next time, as we dig through chapters 17-20.