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Black Ops (Presidential Agent #5)

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,848 Ratings  ·  123 Reviews
The Russian bear is stirring--and it's hungry--in the thrilling fifth novel of the Presidential Agent series. Could sabers be rattling for a new Cold War--or worse? Lieutenant Colonel Charley Castillo is about to find out as the Delta Force operative investigates the disappearances and deaths of covert U.S. intelligence assets working for a variety of agencies.
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published December 31st 2008 by Putnam Adult
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Aug 09, 2012 David rated it it was ok
I like the characters in this series.. I really do.. Maybe that's why I am furious that the author chose to play what I call the "conicidence" card.

Castillo, our hero, gets on a train where he meets a pair of Russian defectors. After he agrees to help them avoid their own intelligence agencies and the CIA he discovers (SHOCK) that they are actually related to his old "friend" Alexander Pevsner, who we've met in previous novels. COME ON! This is just patently absurd.

Griffin takes the series towar
Jun 06, 2009 Jim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Griffin's books are usually action packed with high-stress situations. Well, this book was different. A very long and very slow story that spent way too much time in character development and useless dialog. As I was listening thru this marathon, I kept hoping something would happen. It didn't. The finale was kinda interesting but seemed short and under-done compared to the long build-up.

Save time, skip this one.
Kathy Stone
Mar 30, 2014 Kathy Stone rated it really liked it
Shelves: from-the-library
This was a well-written thriller as I learned a lot about the world. It just took longer to read than I feel a book in this genre should read faster, but the history lessons bogged down the text. The history lessons were necessary to understand the operation involved. How a story that starts in Germany can end up in Las Vegas takes a long time to tell. Maybe it was my own ignorance of the topic at hand as I have not read a lot of books on black ops or South America and Russian relations in the p ...more
Jan 14, 2009 Rob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Francis Gahren
Apr 18, 2013 Francis Gahren rated it did not like it
This is the first book by Griffin that I did not enjoy – way too much dialogue and set-up and not nearly enough action. Not at all like his other books/series…pretty much a waste of time reading it.

Griffin's latest in the best-selling but generally disappointing series involving terrorism in the modern world picks up immediately after its predecessor, The Shooters, and features the same confusing ensemble of characters led by super-agent Charley Castillo.

People in the intelligence world are be
Dec 08, 2009 Karol rated it it was ok
I was disappointed in this novel. Overall, I liked the presidential agent series, but really, the first one was the best. This 5th installment in the series was loaded with details that did not exactly move the story along. The stage-setting was almost comical at times - I mean, does the author really have to point out that "Chairs had been arranged around the table, and there were lined pads and several ballpoint pends on each pad"? That was just one sentence in three paragraphs that included w ...more
Jan 02, 2009 Bluesun2600 rated it it was ok
I've read most everything W. E. B. Griffin has written over the years. None of them I would say are great literature. I always view them more as brain candy, something to read and pass the time over the holidays. This one wasn't bad. Like many of his books, it follows a certain formula with bureaucratic backroom fighting mixed in with some bit of arcane history set in the shady world of Black Programs, but enjoyable never the less. I didn't care for the love interest in this book. I found her to ...more
Marsha Ward
This was the second W.E.B. Griffin book I've listened to. I remembered that a good friend of mine was always on the lookout for books by this author, so I thought I would give him a try.

I got the unabridged version of this audio book. I only gave it three stars because much of it included redundancies and a lot, I mean a TON, of finger-giving instead of verbal responses. The book would have been better with a thorough editing and some actual action, particularly on the part of the hero, Castillo
Jun 18, 2015 Jeanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
More of the "oil for food scam" . . . will this story line EVER end? Listening on audio CD, total of 16 disks--the story starts to get to what C G Castillo and the boys do best on disk 15, only to come to a very abrupt and anti-climatic ending just one disk later. If I didn't like the cast of characters so well in the Presidential Agent series, I would give up. Hopefully installment #6 in the series will turn things around! 4 out of 10 for me.
Feb 28, 2016 Bob rated it liked it
Lieutenant Colonel Charley Castillo the leader of a black ops group working directly for the President are investigating the killing of government intelligence workers as well as people Charley knows from his alternate ego as head of a European publishing conglomerate. They stumble across a Russian intelligence officer and his family and his sister, also and officer who wish to defect. Charley and crew manage to snatch them from the grasp of the Russians and the CIA station chief of Vienna. Much ...more
James F.
Feb 19, 2016 James F. rated it liked it
This novel, authored by W.E.B. Griffin, was a bit of a disappointment to me. The story line traces the actions of a group of characters, all well detailed in their histories and motivations, who jet from location to location around the globe. All of the "down-and-dirty" action is seen by the reader through reports that are made accessible to the novel's main group of characters. A little less concentration on the escape paths and techniques of the main characters from the clutches of the villain ...more
Jul 16, 2013 Bonnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Without the occasional expletives I'd have rated it five stars. But I knew going in that the language would bug me. There is sex, but not explicit. Basically you just know it's happening. It seems rather incongruous to me, probably because of our church's stand on sex outside marriage, that a born again Christian (Russian style) would immediately jump into bed with someone she's barely met. Especially when she is the one who initiates it! Oh well, it's a guy who's writing it and I guess that's e ...more
Mar 02, 2012 JBradford rated it liked it
This is the fifth volume in The Presidential Agent series, which as a whole just gets better and better. I read the sequel to its sequel last weekend and found this in the library when I took it back, along with three other Griffin novels I had not yet read, each from a different series … but now I have to go track down the predecessor of this book! I started out bewildered by Griffin’s style some years ago, but I have to confess I have become a real fan, despite the lack or realism; we know in ...more
Jun 24, 2012 Jerome rated it did not like it
Please do not consider this an action story. 99% of action is in the opening scenes, which does initiate the tale with some dynamic, and then goes south fast. The vast majority of pages are either description of what happened in the past to some one or some situation. So by the end you have a book full of background and enough story to barely fill 10 - 20 pages AT BEST. It's more like a male soap opera and it is certainly not an action story. The history mentioned by another reviewer is Castillo ...more
Oct 12, 2010 KarenC rated it it was ok
Recommended to KarenC by: series

Slow going and unsatisfactory end; loss of focus on the mission. Griffin has generally presented a good premise and story line. This one seemed all over the map with Russian defectors and investigation of a "fish farm" operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo becoming more important than pursuing the conspiracy of who was responsible for the murders that occurred in the first book of the series.

Overall I thought the book could have used better editing to move the story along more quick

Lizabeth Tucker
May 26, 2015 Lizabeth Tucker rated it really liked it
This is the latest Presidential Agent book, fifth in the series, and might possibly be the last. I hope not. In this entry, Charley Castillo finds Russian defectors, a chemical plant in the Congo, love, and lots of trouble.

As usual, we take up where the last book left off. The murders of two CIA assets and a reporter with his newspaper as well as the attempted murders of friends have Charley concerned. He is reluctantly going to the funeral when he is accosted by brother and sister Russian SVG
May 28, 2012 Andy rated it liked it
This was a surprise. After my disappointment with the last book in this series I expected things to go downhill. This one, at least, was a step up from the last one. The addition of a love interest, one I expected to die at every turn, actually made things a little more interesting. Of course the love interest being a former Russian agent looking to do good seems like it could cause all sorts of problems with the series but I don't think it has. At least not with this installment. We'll see how ...more
Vinay Badri
Oct 31, 2014 Vinay Badri rated it liked it
Carrying on the fine tradition of Tom Clancy, Griffin does a great job conveying the intricacies of military and covert actions. The Russian angle flows in quite naturally with the previous plot points but the introduction of the Russian colonel causes breaks in narrative as well as behavior of Castillo and the end resolution seems very abrupt even if its a game changer
Jan 29, 2014 Jeff rated it it was ok
This book was interesting but the first 50 pages or so made the reading hard to understand who the main characters/storyline was not having read any of the previous books in the series. Highly recommend reading previous books first to understand main character(s) for easier listening from the get go. Also, while there were some interesting facets of "black ops" type of things in the books, I thought the book was largely not much of an action book. It was more about talking and negotiating and Ca ...more
Jul 12, 2015 Kay rated it really liked it
Shelves: adventure
If you like testosterone filled, macho, action men, you will love Charlie Castile. Once again he goes out on a limb to defy his superiors. He tangles with the FBI, CIA, US Ambassadors and anyone one else who gets in his way. He wings his way from the US to Germany, Argentina and hope into several US states. This time, he may have gone to far. Action packed, high energy book that is hard to put down.
Jan 01, 2011 M rated it it was amazing
I think this is one of his best works. I learned quite a few vocabulary words, and phrases, such as "long in the tooth" , he uses a rich vocabulary and includes phrases I have not heard since high school. Any black operations book is always intriguing because it involves espionage. In this case a Russian beauty and her brother who want to defect. Since we had some Russian spies in NJ this past summer running around the neighborhood, this novel doesn't seem very far from the current reality. I al ...more
Apr 09, 2012 Josh rated it did not like it

Wow. This was one of the most boring books I've ever listened to. It definitely wasn't what I'd expected when I decided to try a Griffin novel. This isn't a tense, action-packed thriller about a clandestine operation taking out bad guys around the globe; it's a rant about the military politics that go on between the different security agencies within the United States. If you like drawn-out political drama between CIA directors, ambassadors, generals, and special ops forces on the field, then y
Aug 01, 2012 Andy rated it liked it
Pretty similar to previous Presidential Agent novels by Griffin. Griffin seems to dedicate a large portion of the story to how the procedure and protocol unfolds within the overall plot. The actual events that occur (assassination attempts, bombing of an African chemical factory) seem to be just mere mentioned background items, while most of the book focuses on the interaction between Castillo and those in the government and in his secret cabal, plus a little love story thrown in...albeit somewh ...more
Dan Preacherman
Jun 15, 2015 Dan Preacherman rated it liked it
There are a few things the author does that are irritating. But he can tell a story (not a great ending in any of them yet,) but good stories and fun reading

Fredrick Danysh
Nov 05, 2012 Fredrick Danysh rated it really liked it
Colonel C.G. Castillo is running a secret operation for the president that does not report to any other intellegence agency. When American agents are killed overseas, while attending a funeral for one who was a friend, he meets two Russian intellegence agents who want to defect but not to the CIA who they don't trust. He falls for the beautiful female Soviet agent and purses a chemical warfae plant in the Congo. One drawback about Mr. Griffin's books that has military characters is that the hero ...more
Sherry Wilson
Feb 17, 2014 Sherry Wilson rated it it was amazing
Exciting, fast paced, suspenseful action story in the Presidential Agent series.
Jan 29, 2015 dmsburns rated it liked it
Difficult to read on audio. To many characters did not finish
This Presidential Agent novel starts off with several assassinations around the world. Most of them are connected to Lt Col. Charles Castillo. When he is warned about an attempt on his life at one of the funerals he is drawn into a conspiracy involving several Russian Defectors in stopping a plant making dangerous chemicals in Africa. A lot of detail, the book could have been shortened a bit plus it had been a while since I read one of these so was not up to date on the details of Castillo’s cre ...more
Aug 18, 2009 Doug rated it liked it
This is my first W.E.B. Griffin book, so I'm not too sure what to expect. I'm about 3/4th of the way through. The first few chapters were difficult to follow because they were a series of seemingly unrelated events. Griffin brings them all together throughout the rest of the book but it's difficult to remember who is who and who did what. It's pretty slow with a lot of dialog and not much action. I hope not all of Griffin's books are this disorganized and slow. Overall though, the character's ar ...more
S Miller
Used - Very good
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W.E.B. Griffin is one of several pseudonyms for William E. Butterworth III.

From the Authors Website:

W.E.B. Griffin is the #1 best-selling author of more than fifty epic novels in seven series, all of which have made The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and other best-seller lists. More than fifty million of the books are in print in more than ten languages, including Heb
More about W.E.B. Griffin...

Other Books in the Series

Presidential Agent (8 books)
  • By Order of the President (Presidential Agent, #1)
  • The Hostage (Presidential Agent, #2)
  • The Hunters (Presidential Agent, #3)
  • The Shooters (Presidential Agent, #4)
  • The Outlaws (Presidential Agent, #6)
  • Covert Warriors (Presidential Agent, #7)
  • Hazardous Duty (Presidential Agent, #8)

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“getting hot as hell in here.” Castillo saw a Chrysler” 0 likes
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