Adam Baker's debut novel, 'Outpost', was a competent but rather generic apocalyptic thriller. 'Juggernaut' is set in the period prior to 'Outpost', but is not strictly a prequel and can be read independently. On the other hand, readers coming to it from 'Outpost' will find at least partial answers to some of the loose ends Baker left there.
In this book, Baker has fused the post-9/11 military thriller with the bio-hazard horror novel. The plot - a team of mercenaries desperate to recover something from their largely wasted time in Iraq: a hidden horde of stolen gold; a shadowy CIA agenda; a seemingly straightforward off-the-books mission that goes horribly wrong - is familiar enough. But Baker has done his homework, and the detail of mercenary and intelligence operations is convincing.
Baker still writes like a screenplay writer - all choppy prose and two-sentence paragraphs - but moves the plot along efficiently enough. He is less adept at dialogue, and struggles to convey complex information in a believable way. Some of the information-laden speeches that characters are required to give later in the book would never have been uttered in such a stilted, cod-literary way in actual conversation. However, Baker seems to have improved as a creator of character, lending even the somewhat improbable female-led mercenary band a veneer of credibility. In fact, I could have done with more of this deepening of character, along with a more extended exploration of the ideas behind the book; preferably at the expense of action scenes that, while predictably kinetic, are too numerous and too similar and thus also repetitious.
Nonetheless, on the whole 'Juggernaut' succeeds better than 'Outpost' as an entertaining if undemanding read. A brief epilogue suggests a possible third book on the same theme, and again enough ends are left untied to make that book potentially interesting.