Patrick D'Orazio's Reviews > Alpha

Alpha by Steven Konkoly
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's review
Mar 15, 2012

really liked it

Black Flagged tells the tale of Daniel Petrovich, an executive for a company in Maine who is dragged back into the life he'd left behind five years before-as a member of the government's Black Flag program, which puts operatives in deep cover, infiltrating terrorist organizations among other unsavory entities. He's been asked to do one last job...a job that will put him in the cross hairs of virtually every government agency and destroy the peaceful new life he's fabricated with his wife, Jessica. It doesn't take long for things to go as badly as he suspects they would, and thus begins a race for him to escape everyone from the FBI and CIA hunting him down, while he tries to figure out how to once again sever ties with the man who has been manipulating and controlling him from the moment he joined the Black Flag program. The story moves at a breakneck pace, with the level of detail that gave it sense of extreme realism that keeps the tension, as well as the entertainment value high.
I will admit that Black Flagged is perhaps not my typical read, so keep that in mind with this review. My father is more of a fan of the espionage and spy thriller type tales, though I will admit that I have no aversion to them, it’s just not the type of books I normally seek out. That said, I've certain seen my share of movies about covert organizations that are deeper and darker than the CIA that play by their own rules, as most of us have. I think that Black Flagged fits well into that mix, though with a main character who perhaps has a more vague moral code than what we would expect from a "hero", even if we know they have a dark past and are willing to do the things that are necessary to complete their mission, no matter how questionable or reprehensible. Daniel Petrovich, as it is explained by another character in the book, has an unhampered pragmatism. He does what needs to be done, and then he moves on, no matter what. As described in the book, when he is in the field, Daniel is always analyzing his options, taking a split second to assess the likelihood of escape, or of success, based on the different actions he can take, then he makes his decision and commits to that decision without hesitation, regardless of what he has to do. I would like to say that perhaps he is jaded, or has psychological issues that bring him nightmares based on what he has been required to do on his missions, but nothing like that comes across in this tale. Since this is the first in series of books, I would guess that the reader will get the chance to delve deeper into the character’s psyche in future adventures and find out more about what makes him tick. I suppose that perhaps that would be my criticism with this story-while I think the reader can appreciate the frustrations and distaste Daniel has for his past life and his desire to escape it, doing what he does when called upon by the General who runs the Black Flag program seems to come to him so naturally, with minimal regrets, that it was hard for me to gain much attachment to him-I felt no empathy.
Still, this is an introductory tale, allowing us to only skim the surface of the relationship Daniel has with those closest to him, and it moved at such a breakneck pace that it isn't surprising that his character development was limited in that regard. I am sure the author will delve deeper, the further along in Daniel’s overall story that we go. And I think it will be a pretty wild and intriguing ride moving forward.
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Felicia A Editing the sequel this week....should be out soon.

Patrick D'Orazio cool!

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