Book Review: Strait of Hormuz

Strait of Hormuz by Davis BunnHaving read Davis Bunn’s award-winning Rare Earth last year, I was excited at the chance to read the next novel in the series, Strait of Hormuz.

When rumors abound that North Korea is aiding Iran’s nuclear program, Marc Royce returns to the field as a freelancer, ousted from any official role in the State Department. His mission is deemed important by only one man, but Marc puts his life on the line on the off chance that the assumptions of the rest of the military and intelligence departments are wrong. Along the way, he teams up with Israeli Kitra (from Rare Earth) and a new team of mismatched Swiss, Persian and Israeli policemen and intelligence agents, a Turkish art dealer, and even a British millionaire.

In the end, Marc’s team is racing against time to stop those intending to terrorize Israel and start an international war.

I found the plot of Strait of Hormuz to be complex to the point of finding it difficult to follow at times (although I admit some of that could be the fact that I tend to read late at night). In Rare Earth, I found the plot intelligent and unexpected. On the other hand, Strait of Hormuz is slow to progress, complicated and far from gripping.

It wasn’t apparent to me how some of the supporting characters (even seemingly important ones) actually contributed to the plot. Kitra, has no training in intelligence or counter-terrorism, and the only purpose she seems to play is a contact for the Mossad. The author seemed to force her into the plot, unsuccessfully. The same could be said for the art dealer, Rhana. She had contacts in the black market, but was hardly an indispensable member of a team fighting terrorism, and she is more realistically a liability. She does, however, play the role of identifying their target.

This novel takes place in several unique and interesting locations (including Geneva and Gaza), but it lacked the vivid descriptions of Rare Earth. I did, however, enjoy the portrayal of various American, European, and Middle Eastern cultures all coming together to fight for a common goal. While lacking some description of setting, Bunn did present each character with a unique sense of culture. Characters are definitely his strong suit.

For fans of Marc Royce, Strait of Hormuz is a must read continuation of his story. But for those interested in a gripping suspense novel, it might be disappointing.

I received a complimentary copy of Strait of Hormuz from Bethany House Publishers, but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are solely mine.

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