Douglas Misquita is a spider. An artful and talented spider.
In 'Diablo' he weaves a splendid tale of international conspiracy, intrigue and high speed action and weaves it tight! I am reading this genre after a long time, but the hero, Agent Kirk Ingram, instantly reminds me of Ludlum's Bourne and Clancy's Ryan. Full marks to Misquita for packing a lot of punch in the book.
As the blurb says, a self-styled politico-technological vigilante group forms 'The Council', with an intent to address the migrant crisis and its consequences in Europe by a targeted genocide. Misquita unveils the story through multiple concomitant threads emanating from Austria, Somalia, Kenya, Libya with a clutch of actors ranging from refugees, their smugglers, small time thugs, mercenaries and scientists. The story then catapults rapidly, spanning continents and finally involves (what else!) US agencies bringing the Bond-like FBI agent Ingram into the thick of action.
The strengths of the book: One, the author's terrific knowledge of boats, aircraft, cars and weapons. His detailed descriptions of technical specs of a wide variety of ships, planes and guns exquisitely enhances the reading experience, yet the language is precisely clipped not to bore the reader one bit. In fact, the combined richness of description of hardware and tempo of action sequences in air, at sea or during car chases brings you yet another inch forward on the edge of your seat. I don't want to spoil the fun for you by putting excerpts of RPG assaults on armoured cars and Helicopter gunship attacks on camouflaged cargo ships!
Even the locations across Africa, Europe and the USA, geopolitical events, biological weaponry and workings of criminal as well as law enforcement agencies are all very well researched.
Two, the superb building up of multiple angles of the plot and connecting them all up as the book progresses. It is clear that the spider knows how exactly each thread of its web is to be weaved as slowly the pattern becomes clear to the reader. The characters and their back stories are nicely done.
Three, the plot itself. It is as complex as any of Robert Ludlum's or Tom Clancy's Cold War scenario-novels involving multiple agencies and crime syndicates. Indeed, the book itself reads like a Hollywood action film screenplay in the sense that it is really a visual than a reading experience.
The weaknesses: One, the opening was a little uninspiring, I thought. In the first few pages, I almost decided that the book would be an average read. Only towards the end of the second chapter that I suddenly sat up to realise it was a class act.
Two, the writing was actually good, just being about the story. But a wee bit of tighter editing at one or two places and a little touch of humour and tragedy (there was scope for both, I thought) would have coloured the book up. The Hitchcock-like cameo by a certain husband-wife duo certainly brought a delightful relief in the middle though!
In all it's a fine novel. I'm not exaggerating one bit when I say it's reminiscent of the classy authors I mentioned earlier. Highly recommended!