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Posted November 17, 2007
I was excited when I first heard that former Secretary of Defense Cohen was writing a novel that would give readers a glimpse into the inner workings of the real world of the Intelligence Community, American government and international political intrigue. Now that I've read the book, I'm disappointed to find that the real world of the Intelligence Community, American government and international political intrigue apparently consists of hackneyed clichés, ludicrous scenarios, and improbable plot twists. Either that or Cohen¿s just a crappy writer. You know how some writers 'Tom Clancy' create central characters that are thinly veiled portrayals of themselves, except smarter, braver, and cleverer than anyone else in the universe 'Jack Ryan'? I¿m not saying that Cohen does that. I¿m just saying that if I were a police officer and I wrote a novel about law enforcement and used Cohen¿s style, it would turn out that my character would also really be Spiderman on the side. And governor of the state in his spare time. And elevated to either president of the US or saint ¿ maybe both ¿ by book 3 of the series. I¿m not saying that the book doesn¿t provide any glimpses into real government workings I just want to put it into perspective - Cohen¿s novel is an insight into modern Intelligence agencies and government strategies in the same way Dorf is an insight into the PGA tour. On the one hand, I guess it¿s a bit unfair to be so critical of the book without offering any proof. On the other hand I hate to give any spoilers in case you decide to read the book. But on the other other hand, it¿s not like the plot isn¿t predictable ¿ some writer¿s use foreshadowing, Cohen uses foretelegraphing. It¿s not like you¿re not going to be able to guess what¿s about to happen so I might as well give a bit away. The synopsis on the book jacket will tell you that the book centers on former senator and Vietnam POW Michael Patrick Santini who is appointed as Secretary of Defense following the assassination of the sitting SoD. Cohen, one might guess, is the model for the Santini character. The publisher says that Dragon Fire is a riveting, intricate, ripped-from-the-headlines thriller that is so convincingly written, readers will wonder just how much of it is true. I gotta tell you, I didn¿t really wonder all that much. Might have been when Santini realized that the same evil US-hating Chinese bad guy who is plotting the downfall of the US is the same evil US-hating Chinese bad guy who was his tormentor as a POW that gave it away. One billion people in China and Santini gets the same bad guy twice? So now it¿s personal? THAT¿s not unlikely. Or maybe it was when Santini was rescued by his girlfriend ¿ who also just happens to be the top assassin in the world. For Mossad. Which could make for interesting political intrigue, though I don¿t really recall that particular headline in the daily RippingHeadlines News. Or maybe it was when, after the girlfriend-assassin ¿pfft, Pfft, pfft¿ed three bad guys ¿ and I did at least learn that ¿pfft¿ is the sound a silenced gun makes when an assassin takes out a bad guy in an amazingly rushed plot closer 'pfft, pfft, pfft and then they were all dead. The end' ¿ but it was probably the scene when the pair inexplicably decided to hide the bodies and handle things themselves rather than go to the fbi, cia, and NSA ¿ agencies that would surely mess everything up rather than having supercohen, uhm Santini, personally handle the situation. I won¿t even go into the part about how Cohen ¿ I mean Santini ¿ has to steal an SR-71 supersecret supersonic superhero superjet to fly to China and speak directly with the Chinese president ¿ who will believe him ¿ because the American president, being a lesser being, will not. It¿s a bit of a, well, stretch. More of a streeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetch, really. Hope I didn¿t give away too much. Hey, at least I didn¿tWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.