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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
A former journalist from Franconia, New Hampshire, Christopher Whitcomb was hardly a typical FBI recruit. Yet over the course of his career, he climbed into the bureau's most lofty ranks: the Hostage Rescue Team (HRC). In his riveting first book, Cold Zero, the 15-year FBI veteran takes readers deep inside the nation's elite force of G-men.
In Cold Zero, Whitcomb renders this transformation in powerful, razor-sharp prose. Following a rigorous personal exam, he reports to the FBI training facilities in Quantico, Virginia, where he passes the physical and mental tests with flying colors. He's then promptly shipped off to Kansas City, and shortly thereafter, Springfield, Missouri. He struts into the Ozarks and encounters oddballs of all stripes, from a nuclear physicist stalked by angry Mormons to a construction foreman with the blueprints to Saddam Hussein's secret bunker. Not all the work is so funny; he cuts his teeth on tough cases, attends his share of funerals, and deals with battered wives.
Intent on pushing himself, Whitcomb rises to the challenge in 1991 when presented the opportunity to work for the HRC. He drops 25 pounds and becomes a sniper. Slowly, ineluctably, he draws the reader into his mind-set as he describes the FBI's standoffs with Randy Weaver and David Koresh, shedding a cold light on these events. In his mind, such men are hardened criminals, beyond earthly salvation. Reading this book, it's sometimes difficult to argue with this assessment. And thanks to Whitcomb's bold storytelling skills, we feel like we are up in the trees with him as he makes this judgment, rifle poised. (John Freeman)
John Freeman lives in New York City.