Review: Evil Winds Tradecraft Phase Two – Michael Shusko

Series: Tradecraft 3

My version: Paperback
Genre: Fiction, thriller, Aftica, Sudan, Chad

First published: 2018
ISBN: 9780998195957
Pages: 264

From the cover:
Up-and-coming news reporter Angie Bryant is determined to get the scoop on what’s really happening in Darfur, no matter the risk, after all, it’s the kind of story that will catapult her career to the next level.
Jason Russo is a disillusioned NGO doctor stationed at a refugee camp in eastern Chad. While he tries to help where he can, Jason finds it difficult to get the support he needs to make a difference.
But when the pair witness Janjaweed soldiers gun down a dozen Darfurian refugees in cold blood, everything changes. Suddenly, the only assignment that matters, is telling the world about the current conditions in western Sudan – at all costs.
Angie and Jason find themselves racing against time as the work to uncover a sinister secret hidden deep in the Sahara. Their efforts put them directly in the path of a lethal Janjaweed commander. If they want to share their shocking discoveries with the global community, they’ll have to get past him first.

A really interesting, thoroughly bang up to date, superior thriller, Evil Winds, the third of Michael Shusko’s Tradecraft thrillers, builds on the good work of books one and two, and the story to new areas, new levels.

As an American writer, actually, as a writer of popular fiction thrillers generally, I felt that Michael deserves special praise for both setting his latest (to me, anyway) book in Africa, in Chad and southern Sudan. None of them places I’m thinking many thriller readers would even know where they are, be able to point to them on a map, even if they’ve heard of them. So extra good review bonus points from me, for choosing the subject and, especially, for treating it with both sympathy and empathy.

Maybe Michael was trying to look at addressing why, for example, a lot of Europe doesn’t want the people that come from areas like these, coming over the Med to Europe. Neither unfortunately are they interested in finding out why the people are coming. If writers can sneak subjects like this in under the mass-market’s radar, things would begin to change, both in Europe and the USA, and back in the lands the people have come from. It’s a lofty thought, maybe, from a thriller book, but it’s a darn site better get-your-hands-dirty read than the last few Mitch Rapp efforts, where he’s chasing – again – the top Russian hit-man and dealing with Presidents and *yawn* I’ve had to face that fact. I’m hoping the Mitch Rapp out in October is finally going to address that.

As it is a thriller, no matter how well you treat a subject a little, unfortunately, off the reader’s beaten track, you have to make sure it does what it says on the box, and thrill. This it does, partly through an excellent characterisation of the Janjaweed leader, talk about a study in evil. I also noted a Kevin Carter angle, in that the girl wants to get the Pulitzer prize, even though (she hasn’t thought it through at the time it comes up), it would come only because other people are suffering. The ‘do they need to suffer’ for me to be lauded, angle.

I’m still non the wiser as to the title, series business. I think, as this is the third in the series, that the first, must have been called ‘Zero.’ Oh, and someone really should tell him, it’s OK if your main character doesn’t fall in love during the course of the book.

But that doesn’t matter! The book is great, and I hope there are (many) more! We need books like this.

You can buy Evil Winds from Amazon

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