The focus of my blog is to review book series and not individual novels. But writers are going to continue writing novels within a series even after I have done my review, so I plan on reviewing the individual novels as they come into circulation. Erec Stebbins has just recently added book #4, The Nash Criteria, to the Intel 1 series.
The Nash Criterion is the second novel in a two part series and the fourth book within the Intel 1 series. The action in The Nash Criterion takes off shortly after the ending of the previous novel The Anonymous Signal which means that it would be best to read it before reading The Nash Criterion. I read The Anonymous Signal a year ago and I wished that I had read them back to back because it took a few chapters before everything about The Anonymous Signal came back to me.
Intel 1 is a fictional covert organization made up of primarily intellects and exist under the umbrella of the FBI, somewhat similar to James Rollins’ Sigma Force. Intel 1 is led by John Savas, a former NYPD cop turned FBI after the events of 911. In the Anonymous Signal, Savas and the group at Intel 1 were tracking down a hacker that was causing highly destructive damage to the world’s infrastructure controlled by computers. Intel 1 finally did find their anonymous hacker only to find out that there was something considerably bigger and more ominous than this highly ingenious hacker. The information that they recovered made each one of the Intel 1 members wanted criminals and getting this information to the right people was essential but problematic, as it was difficult to tell who they can trust. A cryptic clue left by mathematician John Nash, was their only hope in saving humanity from total destruction which leads us to The Nash Criterion.
Stebbins has been reducing the size of Intel 1 over the course of the series by killing off some of the characters. Intel 1 has dwindled down to only include John Savas, his wife Rebecca Cohen, computer expert Angel Lightfoote, former CIA operative Sara Houston, and former priest turned killing machine Gabriel Lopez. Paring down the characters is not a bad thing as it gives Stebbins the ability to focus on just a few characters to give them more depth which is difficult to do in a high action thriller which undoubtedly defines this series. I would have to say that two characters in this series, hacker extraordinaire Angel Lightfoote and pistol wielding padre Gabriel Lopez are the highlight of The Nash Criterion. Lopez, which is my favorite character, was first introduced in the second novel of the series, Extraordinary Retribution. Lopez started out the series as a Catholic priest who taught mathematics to school children until he found out that his brother was murdered. Lopez needed to know who killed his brother only to find out that his brother was a CIA agent and was involved in a government cover up. Trying to right a wrong, Lopez is defrocked from the priesthood and becomes a wanted fugitive. Though he is stripped of the cloth, Lopez is still a priest at heart which creates a moral dilemma for him when he is required to take on the bad guys. This often creates humorous situations throughout The Nash Criterion as Lopez contemplates whether he should be carrying a cross instead of an AK-47. It is this character that makes me love this series.
The Nash Criterion is a good ole fashion action thriller which makes for a great distraction and a fun summer read. It will not disappoint.
To learn more about the series check out a review of the Intel 1 Series.