Monday, May 31, 2010

DRAGON GAMES: A new thriller by Stephen Mertz

I’m no fan of the Olympics. When it comes to sports on the world stage, give me the World Cup every time. But this new thriller by Stephen Mertz showed me the Olympic games that really count - the behind-the-scenes, life-and-death struggles between rival security forces.

At the 2008 games in Beijing, that battle is three-sided. In one corner we have our chief protagonist, ex-secret serviceman Tag McCall, a man loyal to his country, his lover and his ideals. In another - Tag’s boss Dan Price, who has his own secret and deadly agenda. And opposing them both is the extremely astute and extremely ruthless Major Yang of the Chinese Internal Security Bureau.

When Price’s plan is nearly exposed, he’s forced to murder one of his own operatives, along with two of Yang’s officers, beginning a chain of events that pits Yang and Tag McCall against him - and against each other.

Amidst all the intrigue, we meet a cast of intriguing characters, including two American gymnasts and their feuding coaches, a crazed redneck seeking to take out Muslims in a blaze of glory, a Chinese general eager to defect with his family, and a mysterious dominatrix who may be more dangerous than anyone.

Mertz juggles all these characters and more, each with their own subplot, as tension mounts and the stakes grow ever higher. Scenes shift quickly from one crisis to the next, and before you know it you’ve no choice but to plant yourself in a chair until all the plotlines intersect in an Olympic-sized climax.

The games themselves make a great backdrop for the action, and are handled so convincingly I wonder if the author was in Beijing while writing this.  Maybe when the games move to London in 2012 I‘ll be watching. But I'm definitely hoping Stephen Mertz and Tag McCall will be there so they can bring us the real story.


Cap'n Bob said...

Hardly your usual fare, but I'm glad to see a boost for Mertz. The guy's one of those well-callused pros who's been laboring in the field for many years, often anonymously.

Deka Black said...

And this is another writer i don't know... Sometimes, the amount of authors out there is scary.

David Cranmer said...

I have a friend who was in China during the Olympics and would undoubtedly enjoy this