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Signal: A Sam Dryden Novel


Signal: A Sam Dryden Novel

SIGNAL almost got by me. You know how it goes: There is a seemingly never-ending stream of books that are funneled through a steadily shrinking amount of free time. Before you know it, the novel that was at the top of your must-read pile is somewhere in the middle. If that has happened to you with Patrick Lee’s latest, or if you are just hearing about the book now, get it and begin reading. You will thank me later.

This is the second of what hopefully will be many installments of the very fine Sam Dryden series. Dryden is a retired special forces operative who wants nothing more than to buy and rehabilitate homes in El Sedero, California, while forgetting what he used to do and the skills he acquired to do those things. However, he keeps getting drawn back into the life. This time it is his old friend Claire Dunham who comes calling, dragging him into a situation where they perform an extremely worthy rescue operation that saves the lives of four innocents. What follows is a long couple of days for Dryden, set forth in what is a quick read for the reader.

"I loved every word of it. I kept waiting for SIGNAL to drop, but it never did; it just got better and better. Lee is amazing, and his characters (Dryden in particular) are keepers."

A note, here: You will be tempted to re-read the first 30 or so pages, wondering what you missed or misinterpreted. Don’t. What you read is what you read, and there is no misunderstanding. What occurs is the result of “insider information” that is provided by a mechanism, both wonderful and horrific at once, that is located in a case that a collective someone called The Group wants very, very badly and of which Dryden soon takes possession. It is, shall we say, one of a few collective pieces of the forbidden fruit, an instrument that can be used for great good and for almost certain evil, something that no one should have and should stay buried forever. It is also almost impossible to resist. The Group has the rest of these instruments and wants to get the one in Dryden’s possession so that they will have sole ownership and control.

While The Group initially fails in getting the object, it does succeed in capturing Claire, making Dryden’s objective twofold: keep the object away from The Group (away from everyone, actually), and get Claire back. Dryden is unflinching when doing what he has to do, and with an FBI agent in tow, he plays a game of cat-and-mouse with The Group, a game in which he is most definitely the mouse. The mouse in this case has opposable thumbs, mad martial arts and weaponry skills, and the ability to apply cold reason to problems, which enables him to quickly sort out what he can and can’t do effectively.

It’s a good thing, too, because there are a lot of twists and turns here, not only for the characters but also for the reader. Lee uncorks surprises left and right, particularly during the final third of the book, so that by its conclusion you’ll feel wrung out. In a good way, of course, but looking at the world around you in a different light and perhaps leaving yourself notes. Just to be sure.

I loved every word of it. I kept waiting for SIGNAL to drop, but it never did; it just got better and better. Lee is amazing, and his characters (Dryden in particular) are keepers. His next book won’t have a chance of getting past me.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on August 7, 2015

Signal: A Sam Dryden Novel
by Patrick Lee

  • Publication Date: April 5, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books
  • ISBN-10: 1250030765
  • ISBN-13: 9781250030764