Customer Reviews for

The Covert Element - A James Becker Thriller

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
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  • Posted April 14, 2012

    A timely subject dealing with the brutality and economics of Mex

    A timely subject dealing with the brutality and economics of Mexican drug cartels. They have infiltrated the U.S. and Betcher presents an intriguing situation concerning their future expansion, if we don't act now. Well written and intelligent.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 14, 2011

    Realities Of Our World In A Dynamic Thriller

    An intelligent thriller that weaves the echoes of recent events into a lively narrative. Plotted deftly, this is a recommended read for all who appreciate stories in the vein of Clancy and Flynn.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 18, 2011

    Probably more truth than fiction!

    The Covert Element - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds

    'Whether drugs or not, it was hard for me to imagine that the scene I had observed this morning could possibly portend anything but headaches and misery for the residents of Ottawa County. "But twenty-three dead.When's the last time that sort of mass execution happened in the U.S.?" Beth stared into space. "Gotta be when that crazy Hennard guy drove his pickup truck through the front window of Luby's Café in Texas way back in - what was it - '91? Long time ago, anyway." "This morning's atrocity looked like something out of Kosovo. Like an ethnic cleansing. Or like the mob sending someone a message. But we don't have 'the mob' in Minnesota.just a few rag tag street and motorcycle gangs that shoot each other once in a while." I thought for a moment. I could see Beth was trying to make some sense of all this, too. "I s'pose Hells Angels is the closest we've got to any organized crime syndicate," I said. "But if it was a biker gang, the BCA should find evidence of motorcycles all over the place. I didn't see any tracks around that house this morning. never know." I was out of ideas. Maybe some solid police work would give me new options to consider soon. In the meantime, while ruthless killers roamed loose in or around Ottawa County, I would sleep very lightly indeed.'

    James Becker, Attorney-at-law, called "Beck" for short, came back from a smoldering meth cooking lab where 23 men had been killed. Beck had been invited to go to the scene by his friend Ottawa County Chief Deputy Sheriff, Doug Gunderson, also known as "Gunner." The biggest problem was, how were 23 men talked into lying down on the ground while each one was individually shot in the head with the same gun? But that is exactly how they were found outside the lab as it burned. Beck believes there has to be more to the story but after the BCA appeared on the scene, he and Gunner are left out of the loop. So what do they do? They create their own "loop."

    After Beck is contacted by another friend Terry "Bull" Red Feather, an American Indian who served his country as an Army Ranger, he becomes convinced that this "little" meth lab is just the beginning of something even bigger. And after a conversation between Bull, Beck and Bull's military comrade Master Sergeant Fuentes, they know that the Mexican drug cartel known as Los Cinco, is involved.

    Following Beck, Bull, Gunner and Beck's wife Beth, as they take on one of the largest cartels in existence, keeps you on the edge of your seat. And then there is Ralphael Santos who has worked his way up from the ground floor to become the head man and leader of Los Cinco. He will have you quickly turning the pages just to see what evil he will inflict on his next victim. But wait until you see who his victims really are.

    I've read several books written by Author John L. Betcher. He has a way of writing that makes you feel as if you're on the sidelines watching the events take place. His knowledge of the topic he is writing about educates to happenings that you only read bits and pieces of in the local papers. He brings out the full truth as to how things are toned down and released on a need to know basis only. The Covert Element is a perfect example of his great style of writing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2011

    A riveting read...well paced and intricately plotted

    This is my first James Becker thriller, and I will definitely be coming back for more! As a writer, I appreciate the skill with which John Betcher wove a very complex story, casting the plot back and forth from earlier days to the present. His Becker character is immensely likeable, and the chemistry between Becker and his technomaven wife is unique and refreshing. Their magnetism is exceeded only by their mutual respect. Betcher's knowledge of all aspects of his story contributed hugely to making this a great read. His easy explanation of equipment, black ops paraphernalia and methods, drug cartels, meth labs, and even Minnesota agribusiness made this a rich tale on many levels. I heartily recommend the book to those who want to immerse themselves in the kinds of adventures John Betcher writes so very well.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:


    This is the third installment featuring James Becker (Beck), a former Military Intelligence Agent and his ex-CIA code cracking, computer expert wife, Beth. They are both retired from their stressful jobs, Beck does some work as an attorney now, but they just can't seem to stay out of trouble.

    In this edition the Mexican Drug Wars come way too close to home, very near to their quiet Minnesota community, and they aren't just selling the drugs, they are manufacturing meth at a huge grain company. The organic grain elevator and small dairy is a great cover. The CEO doesn't even know what is happening right under his nose.

    To add even more thrill to this thriller we find out about some of Beck's friend Bull's past. A friend from his time in the military shows up and he is on a mission and wants Bull's help to carry out his plan. He has set up his planned assault for many years and it is all coming to a head now in Minnesota.

    Beth and Beck try to help their friend Bull accomplish his friend's mission in the most legal way possible because if they don't they could all end up in jail or dead.

    I LOVED IT!!!!!

    I was privileged to be one of the first to read the first book in this series, The Missing Element and then The 19th Element which tied with Harlan Coben's CAUGHT for my selection of Best Suspense/Thriller for 2010. I was worried that after the last one John had set the bar too high for himself, but The Covert Element surpassed both of the previous novels.

    I think that John is not only a brilliant writer but he takes huge current issues in the world and brings them alarmingly close to home. He had made Red Wing, Minnesota the hotbed of some critical world issues in a truly believable way. I just hope the wrong people don't read his books and get ideas.

    The dialogue between Beck and Beth is so real. I know some critics have panned their romance and relationship taking too big of part in these stories, but to me it makes the stressful situations even more real. There is less of that in this installment but you still see and feel the calming effect Beth has on Beck. Without that he could develop quickly in a character out of control. She is a vital character and their strong relationship is a huge part of why these stories work.

    You can see the author takes great pains in his research in every one of the books but this one took intense investigation to get the facts right to make this story credible.

    It continues his "ripped from headlines" style. This is yet another book by John L. Betcher I recommend you click the link below and order today. You will be enthralled from the first page until the very last and you won't be able to wait and tell your friends they have to read it too!!!

    Well done John!!! Now get to work on the next one!!! By hot little hands are waiting!!!

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author.. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2013

    Excellent Suspense and Thriller

    I enjoyed the book and so far, his whole series on James Becker. John Belcher is a good author and leaves you wanting to read more and more. I highly recommend this series of books.

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    Posted June 1, 2014

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    Posted July 29, 2011

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    Posted November 6, 2011

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