Ben Sanders is one the most reliable entertainers in thriller-lit. “American Blood” and “Marshall’s Law” earned him comparisons to some of the genre’s greats: Lee Child, Robert Crais, Elmore Leonard; the gold-class writers of crime fiction and thrillerdom. But if what came before was Sanders reaching for that high bar, “The Devils You Know” is him setting it. Nobody keeps a story engine churning like this guy. It’s not that the plots themselves are hyper-original; it’s the bravura of his storytelling.
Vincent’s not quite a pacifist, but after more than a decade in covert ops, and the catastrophic ending to his last mission — he was the only one to make it out when the helicopter fairground-twirled to the ground, surviving with two broken legs and a dislocated shoulder — he’s done pulling triggers at the behest of the US government. For anyone, in fact. He’s seen enough conflict for a whole lifetime.
Through a pal, Beauden Ash, he’s landed a contractor gig in Santa Barbara, working as the head of security for a supermarket mogul. Vincent drives Eugene Lamar to breakfast and golf, and fills the time in between surfing, writing his screenplay, and making small talk with Lamar’s daughter, Erin Jones, a pro-war journalist who’s book “Moral War: Failed States, Foreign Interventions,” is causing quite a stir.
A couple things pique Vincent’s Spidey-Sense: Lamar’s home is outfitted with a panic room full of assault rifles, and a revolver rests in the glovebox of his car. It quickly becomes clear he’s embroiled in a business far more dangerous than supermarkets. And inevitably Vincent has to utilise long-dormant skills, as some very deadly people close in on Lamar and his daughter.
Sanders never loses control of his clean, smooth prose or his ability to sketch fully fleshed characters in a few scenes. In “The Devils You Know” he serves up a taut and exiting tale, bristling with action, tinged with well-placed emotional depth, which hurtles forward at a furious pace. Pop fic at its best.
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Imprint: Allen & Unwin
Pub Date: February 2021
Page Extent: 336