Piercing the armour in Mexican drug gangs

Title: Armoured

Author: Mark Greaney

Publisher: Berkley

ISBN: 9780593547755

A book review by Sebastian Lim

Armored introduces us to Joshua Duffy, a father of two who’s a Close Protection Agent (bodyguard) and also a former elite soldier. While on duty in Lebanon, his principal comes under attack and while the principal doesn’t make it, Duffy is able to get the principal’s wife out alive. However, he loses his lower left leg during the attack.

The story then revisits Duffy a few years later where he is now struggling to find work with his disability. As a full-time mall cop, he and his wife, Nikki, a former Blackhawk pilot, are struggling financially to raise two young children.

When Duffy runs into a former colleague, Mike Gordon at the mall, Gordon tells him about a job he is about to embark on with Armored Saints, a security agency with a notorious reputation.

Despite that, Duffy asks Gordon to put in a word for him.

When he’s called for an interview, Duffy agrees to undertake a contracting assignment with Armored Saints to protect a convoy of UN dignitaries on a peace mission to recover 60 stolen shoulder-fired stinger missiles that are in the hands of one of the Mexican drug cartels.

Hired on the spot as a Team Lead, Duffy knows he has bitten off more than he can chew. Only one day into Mexico, they are already under attack and in serious trouble.

The seemingly simple protection detail then takes a major detour when traitors and hidden agendas surface in the midst of constant shootouts and explosions.

Armored has all the non-stop action, interesting characters, funny moments, and a high body count.

The characters in Duffy’s team are well developed and there is a common theme among them – they are all misfits and rejects – a bevy of alcoholics, bullies, and men who are deemed “unhireable”.

Meanwhile, Duffy’s wife, Nichole, becomes an indomitable character in this novel. Armored is told from two viewpoints – Nichole back in Virginia and Duffy in Mexico.

When it  becomes clear to Nichole that Duffy is in great danger, she wants to save him. And she does just that – go to where he is trapped in the mountains and jungles of Mexican borders.

There are so many things to like about this book. Nichole’s devotion and support to her husband, especially in the last scenes, is admirable. And the sheer will of the men in team Charlie as they fight their way back to safety against overwhelming odds to stay alive, will get the readers rooting for them.

Mark Greaney’s tactical and technical knowledge is showcased well in Armored in the same vein of Tom Clancy’s writing.

At the same time, Greaney maintains a clear spotlight on the driving force of the narrative – the rag tag group of characters with their realistic and hilarious strengths and flaws that add a touch of chaotic realism to the explosive-laden storyline.

Although Josh Duffy is no Gray Man but as a husband and father, his desire to provide for his family makes him the ideal hero to cheer for as he navigates through the wildlands with his team of mercenaries.

The gun fights never cease, the plot twists never stop and the treachery is mind-blogging in this thriller which we hope will be the start of a new series from Greaney.

Sebastian Lim is an experienced journalist and editor who now runs his own book review blog — coolreadsseb.blogspot.com. The views expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent that of The Weekly-Echo.