Rating: 4 stars
The story of Tucker Wayne — and, more importantly to some of us — his incredible military dog Kane, continues in “War Hawk,” cowritten by James Rollins and Grant Blackwood. Their story was first told in “The Kill Switch.”
In this story, Tucker Wayne is on his way to a vacation with Kane in the national forests when an old girlfriend finds him and draws him into a mystery. People she worked with on a national defense project have been disappearing, and she is worried that there are nefarious forces at work, killing the workers to silence them permanently. He and Kane, the brilliant and faithful former military K9, go to investigate and are drawn into a war of global proportions.
The reader knows from the start who the bad guy is — and boy, is he ever evil. Nothing bothers him — killing children, obliterating towns, murdering those who worked for him — and he is out for world domination. Seriously.
As Rollins does so expertly in his thrillers, this book points out some very frightening facts about our global military, the artificial intelligence breakthroughs, and how many superpowers are no longer governments but super-corporations. Also, are governments turning over the warfare to private companies who make money by selling killing machines and death? Self- guiding drones are not new anymore, but what Rollins imagines (or is it real?) about their abilities would seem to be the stuff of sciencefiction stories. But it’s not sci-fi anymore — it’s becoming our new reality.
There is lots of action, and there are lots of nail-biting scenes where Kane is in danger (of course, many of us care mainly about the dog), and lots of heroics. The only part that made me suspend my disbelief was when the bad guys were searching for Tucker and Kane in the dark, and I wondered why with all the advanced technology, they didn’t have heat-sensing devices that would have allowed them to immediately find the two.
The finale is very satisfying but leaves the reader with many questions that Rollins tries to answer in “Author’s Note to Readers: Truth or Fiction.” It’s an explanation but also includes a kind of bibliography in case readers want to study some of the topics in more depth.
Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by William Morrow, the publisher, for review purposes.