Author: David M. Salkin
Publisher: PublishAmerica (2009)
Binding: Paperback, 215 pages
Washington, D.C., is a world of acronyms. FBI, CIA, NSA, DOD, the list goes on. Unlike the rest, the MOP doesn’t stand for anything. It is simply the name given to the small, top-secret team of American agents within the government that answers to only one man, the Director of the CIA. The Director of the CIA, risking perjury and personal liability, will deny, to his death, the existence of such an organization. Every president of the United States since Reagan knew that there was “something” out there, to be used at the discretion of the Director of the CIA, but none ever asked. There are some things that even the president of the United States of America doesn’t want to know. And so long as you like to sleep safely in your bed at night, you don’t want to know either. When it gets messy, you better get out the mop.
The MOP begins with a series of attacks on American soil by a new Muslim villain set on out-doing Osama Bin Laden. The US President and his team race to discover where and when the next bombing will take place. It's up to a small top secret group to do America's dirty work and stop the bad guys before the country is destroyed. The result is enough to scare the pants off just about anyone who picks up this novel.
The book is compelling and the reader will race through the material in one or two sittings. Most of the characters are thinly drawn and hard to like. However, the story is plot driven and the cast is too vast to develop easily. Salkin would need a TV mini-series to do that. However, he employs a clever technique to make it all work -- he uses the "ripped from the headlines" approach that allows the imagination to fill in the blanks. Omar Haq is the epitome of American ideas about hypocritical Arabic terrorists -- and then some. Politicians act like politicians who must answer to a divided and frightened nation. The intelligence agencies and the military do their jobs with great skill. The unknown agents who go alone into danger are heroic and isolated. The SEALS act like SEALS, Sea Captains are crotchety and defiant, and in the end -- well, I won't tell you about the ending
The cover on this book is creative. A mop and a rifle -- rendered in grayscale with a touch of bloody red -- foreshadow the content of the book and encourage passersby to pick it up and flip through the pages.
The MOP puts the reader in a bad spot -- no one wants to believe the horrible situations created by the author. The violence is brutal and ugly to behold -- like "24" on steroids. On the other hand, it's a difficult book to put down. Perhaps we want to believe that there is someone out there who can duke it out with the bad guys -- and we don't have to know about their awful deeds or worry about their safety. They are guardian ghosts that move among us unseen.
David Salkin is a solid, technical writer. Fans of the Thriller genre will enjoy the ride -- so will anyone who likes a fast-paced, readable novel on a lazy afternoon. A word of caution -- the antics of Omar Haq will disgust and appall most everyone -- men, women, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, left or right. He's that good old fashion villain that everyone loves to hate. However, if you are squeamish, this might not be the book for you.
Reviewed by: Joyce Faulkner (2009)