The Bottom Line: Rogue Agent is a near-future military thriller that hits all the right targets. Dan J Ford has created a compelling one-man wrecking crew in his protagonist, Tom Wiseman.
Wiseman, a Former FBI agent and current Army criminal investigator is contacted by his former mentor and Quantico trainer five years after Tom’s FBI’s career ended badly. His mentor – who Tom feels betrayed him – calls about a case involving a Saudi-born suspect who was shot and killed by the FBI. It’s tempting, but not tempting enough for Tom to reconnect – at least not yet.
Meanwhile, a United Nations helicopter carrying a governor and four crew has gone missing in Afghanistan. Tom’s job is to find it, figure out what happened, and locate any survivors. But as Tom delves deeper into the mission, it’s clear there’s far more at stake than he originally thought (including, eventually, the discovery of a suspicious weapons shipment). It’s the beginning of an action-packed journey and intertwining plot that will lead Tom from Alabama and West Virginia, to Amsterdam and elsewhere.
Readers looking for a military thriller in the style of Brad Thor’s Scott Horvath series have come to the right place. Wiseman is a one-man wrecking crew who leaves it all on the field every day, despite suffering from crippling PTSD. One perfect line from Wiseman’s enemy perfectly sums up the enormity of Wiseman’s impact: “One man has done this to us? One lowly FBI agent?”
Ford, the author, a decorated combat serviceman himself, proves to be particularly gifted at creating believable action scenes. Throughout the book, he delivers all the goods military thriller fans are looking for: a suspicious old case that just won’t go away, a present-day threat with national security implications, and a flawed but talented agent on a path to redemption.
Thematically, Tom’s high-functioning memory is an intriguing gift that’s mentioned more than a few times, and human cognition is a running theme in the story. Ford juxtaposes Tom’s abilities with lots of creative and colorful dialogue, as well as plenty of compelling secondary characters. And for those who love cutting-edge tech, being mildly futuristic, Rogue Agent also explores interesting territory relating to cybernetic brain implants and other tantalizing future innovations.
In a nutshell, Rogue Agent is an exceptional series debut that will leave you wanting more.