I have a confession to make: I have a bit of a soft spot for political thrillers. I love TV shows like The Unit and 24; I love movies like Patriot Games and Olympus Has Fallen; and I love the books. Code of Conduct is the fourteenth book in Brad Thor’s Scot “Harvath” series, and I have read all of them. When I heard that Mr. Thor had a new entry due out July 7, 2015, I knew I had to check it out.
Summary from Brad Thor’s website:
#1 New York Times bestselling author Brad Thor presents his greatest thriller ever—an action-packed literary tour de force!
Hidden deep within one of the world’s most powerful organizations is a secret committee with a devastating agenda. Its members are afforded incredible protections—considered elites, untouchables.
But when four seconds of video is captured halfway around the world and anonymously transmitted to D.C., covert wheels are set in motion, and counterterrorism operative Scot Harvath is tapped to undertake the deadliest assignment of his career.
What begins as a favor will evolve into a globe-spanning drama of highly personal stakes played out against a backdrop of stunning international intrigue, duplicitous political gamesmanship, and the darkest, most clandestine fears of the espionage world.
With razor-sharp plotting, richly rendered characters, and heart-stopping surprises on every page, Thor isn’t just at the top of his game—he owns the entire genre.
Like previous Brad Thor books (The first book is titled The Lions of Lucerne), Code of Conduct definitely has pulse pounding, edge-of-your-seat action sequences. The book starts off strong with Scot Harvath, the series protagonist, heading off to the Congo on a mission to figure out why a group of trained military personnel in biohazard gear attacked a small clinic in the middle of the jungle. This leads him on a globe-trotting adventure that has Harvath doing everything he can to stop a devastating attack on not only the U.S., but the entire world.
One small gripe I have with this book is that it seemed that there was a little more emphasis on the political portion of “political thriller” and less on the thriller aspect. The action sequences in Code of Conduct were impeccable, but relatively sparse compared to some of the earlier entries in this series. I started noticing this trend over the last few books in the series. It didn’t really bother me at first, but for some reason it really stuck out in this particular book. That’s not to say this book is bad – when the action picks up in the last several chapters the book was really hard to put down. Chores and sleep had to wait so I could finish the last 100 pages as quickly as possible. I just wish there was a bit more action and it was a little less political like some of the previous books in the series.
Scot Harvath has frequently been compared to 24’s Jack Bauer, which is a pretty accurate description. Both Bauer and Harvath are considered to be the best counter-terror operatives in the world and will go to extreme measures to protect the United States and its citizens; both face enormous odds in order to complete their task; and both were members of the United States Special Forces (Harvath was in SEAL Team 6, and Bauer was in 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, aka Delta Force). Really, the biggest difference between the two is the number of times they use the word, “DAMMIT!?” Overall, Harvath is a likable character that is also an apex terrorist hunter.
Brad Thor has a knack for writing tense thrillers with complex and disturbing political underpinnings. If you like political thriller books, or shows such as 24 or The Unit (without all of the drama), you should definitely check out this series. You can watch the book’s trailer below, and find out more info on Brad’s website here.