Monday, April 4, 2016
Book Review: Code 13 by Don Brown
Navy officer Caroline McCormick is being transferred from San Francisco to Washington DC to work at the Navy JAG office called Code 13, where they write legal opinions about new and pending legislation. (They may do more than that, but I kind of glossed over that part.) She's very excited about the transfer because she'll be working with PJ McDonald again. She and PJ had a serious relationship before, but cut it off when she was forced to move across the country. PJ also works at Code 13, and he's writing an opinion about the legality of drones to fly over the land and sea to monitor ships that are coming into US ports. It's a very controversial legislation, and PJ is torn about which direction to take. When PJ and another Code 13 officer are murdered, it becomes obvious that someone doesn't want his opinion, but the burning question is, "who?" Is it the mob, who doesn't want the legislation to pass, so they can continue to smuggle illegal drugs? Or is it the drone manufacturer, who desperately wants it to pass so that he can make millions in profits? Either way, Caroline is determined to find the killer, even if it means putting a target on her own back.
The thing you should understand before you read this book is that Don Brown is a conspiracy theorist. He has literally written about himself in this book, claiming that he isn't, but you don't have to read far to see that he is. That's not to say that he isn't well-versed and very knowledgeable about his subject. As a retired Navy JAG officer himself, he really knows the ins and outs of the ''business" as it were. This book had a slightly slow start, but when the action started, it happened very fast, and kept up a steady pace all the way to the end. There are a lot of factions at work here, and you need to pay close attention to keep them all straight. The story itself is very interesting, and drew me in. There was a piece of the puzzle that was missing until the end, that left me on the edge of my seat.
I had two major issues with this book, but neither involved the actual storyline. I find it interesting when men write from the viewpoint of women, because they really have no clue how a woman's mind works. I found the relationship and dialogue between Caroline and Victoria to be unrealistic. Trust me, two women who were vying for the affections of the same man are not going to suddenly become the closest of friends, fellow Navy officers or not. My second issue is one that is so common in "Christian" fiction. PJ and Caroline both claimed to be Christians, but thought nothing of going to a bar for a drink. This is not Christian behavior. PJ was nearly drunk at the bar with Victoria, yet he quotes scripture in his head. Caroline is confident that she will see him again, because he accepted Christ, but neither of them have any sort of Christian testimony to speak of. I know that things like this are common in today's "modern" Christianity, but that doesn't make them right. Quoting a few scriptures, does not make you a Christian. While this book doesn't have any sex scenes, or fowl language, and is appropriate for Christians to read, I wouldn't necessarily consider it to be a Christian novel.
Overall, I would say that if the legal/military thriller genre is one that you enjoy, you will probably enjoy this book. But if it isn't something you normally read, skip it.
I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own, and a favorable review was not required. Look for Code 13 on sale April 5.