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The 19th Element,
This review is from: The 19th Element, A James Becker Thriller (A James Becker Suspense/Thriller Novel) (Kindle Edition)This is the first book in the `James Becker' series by John L Betcher.
Our hero and his wife live in Red Wing, Minnesota. While he occupies his days as an attorney his background, which is only ever hinted at, was as some kind of clandestine military intelligence operative. This `hinting' is quite effective as it allows the author some freedom with the character and the skills he might need to possess for each story.
Beck's wife (also with an intelligence background), his best friend Bull, and local Sherriff Doug Gunderson are the main characters and they are nicely crafted, fitting their surroundings very well.
Some troubled citizens get mixed up with Al Qaeda to get their revenge on a nuclear industry and government they feel has let them down and done them harm. A death and an unexplained explosion make Beck sure that something is going on, and he doesn't think it it going to end well.
My self-imposed rule for series, is to read them in order. In this case I inadvertently read #2 first, then this one, but this did not affect my enjoyment. Having read the two I can say that the feel is the same for both. To me they are thrillers set in a small town, with a very cozy feeling. The Beckers are obviously still very much in love, but not to the point of being distracting. If he needs to go deal with some bad guys, he does it, without angst over the poor woman he had to leave behind. I've read a couple of books recently where this was not the case and those books were ruined for me. They are (mostly) retired spies who periodically need to revive some of their old skills.
This book is a comfortable read, with a hero who has just the right amount of humour.
(I read an ebook edition which I downloaded for free during a promotion)