hailstorm

Review of Operation Hail Storm by Brett Arquette

His normal pattern of sleeping was problematic at best. He would fall asleep for an hour and then be jarred awake for absolutely no reason. Falling back asleep wasn’t a problem. All he had to do was read a book or watch TV and he would eventually drift off. But as soon as the next hour of REM clicked by, bang, back awake again. The pattern would repeat and repeat and repeat again until he was tired of the farce and got up and went on with another day of living.”

Introduction

Operation Hail Storm is written by Brett Arquette.

Operation Hail Storm is a techno-thriller that is heavy on the tech. It reminds of Tom Clancy’s earlier works like Red Storm Rising in its focus on the minutiae and detailed explanations of how the technology works.

It stars Marshall Hall, noble prize winner and billionaire, who is out for retribution ever since his family was killed in a terrorist accident. This book focuses on his first attempts on this path of vengeance. North Korea is about to get ICBM technology shipped to them and Hall is the only person who has the resources and will to prevent this from happening. He works with the US government, who doesn’t really trust him. Most of the story is about how he prevails both in North Korea and Washington D.C.

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Recommendation

Operation Hail Storm is a good techno-thriller.

It is the sort of the book that gets better the more you read it. At first, I was disinterested but as the plot progressed, it drew me in. And now, I am at a state where I am eagerly awaiting the next installment.

The aspect of the book I liked best was its near zero racism or Islamophobia. Unlike other books in this genre, Operation Hail Storm actually understands that people are the same everywhere. I found Brett Arquette’s handling of this issue to be quite nuanced, involving both the carrot and the stick.

This book reminded me of Tom Clancy’s earlier work like Red Storm Rising, for example. There is a lot of tech in the plot and the book does not shy away from getting into the minutiae of how the tech works. I found the balance of the details vs verbosity to be to my liking.

The character development of the main characters – Marshall Hall & Kara – is quite good. We discover a lot of their back story and understand their motivations as the story progresses. The other characters in his team are not so well developed and I think that could have been better. Marshall Hall is also not your typical action hero. He knows that his superpower is his brains and his money. So he uses these items to get what he wants rather than going on to the field and generally getting his ass kicked. Essentially, he behaves like a real life person would (who has a lot of money).

The plot is quite straightforward and the pacing gets better as the book progresses. I found the initial chapters to be lacking in energy and this might put off impatient readers. But, any reader who persevere, will find that this book is worth their time.

Other Thoughts (Spoilers warning)

Spoilers below. Continue reading at your peril.

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Why does the CIA director dislike Hall so much? Is there some back story we should be aware of?

I found the plot point of not informing Hall about the backup plan to be a stretch given the context of the story.

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Also published on Medium.