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Trap the Devil


Trap the Devil

There are few greater joys on my literary horizon that are more grand than the arrival of a new thriller by Ben Coes. It has been seven years since Coes introduced Dewey Andreas to readers in POWER DOWN, and the memory of the claustrophobic opening third of that novel still causes my throat to close up. The books that have followed are memorable in their own terms, as Coes continues to top himself in the suspense level of his work, the quality of his writing, and the ability of his predictive powers to somehow overtake events rather than the other way around. He continues to exceed his own expectations with the newly published TRAP THE DEVIL, which is so on point as to be frightening.

Before I go deeply into my discussion of the book, let me assure you that you need not be reluctant to pick it up and begin reading even if you have not delved into any of the prior volumes. While each new installment of the series has built upon what has gone before, Coes is a master --- a marvel, really --- at extending a helping hand to those coming aboard for the first time, giving them just enough background where and when they need it in the narrative without killing the pacing of the current story. You’ll want to go back and read each book in the series after you finish this latest one, but don’t hesitate to jump on now.

"There are plenty of plot twists and turns, suspense, explosive situations, and a body count that seems ready to give the John Wick franchise a run for its money."

As it is, TRAP THE DEVIL is a terrific way to be introduced to Dewey Andreas, as Coes gives both fans and newcomers some deep background on him that goes beyond the already revealed knowledge that Dewey is a former Delta Force operative and is possessed of a superior, though not superhuman, skill set. He begins with a simply horrendous terrorist event occurring in Madrid, Spain, in 1979 and flips to a momentous meeting in Langley, Virginia, in 1981 before arriving in the book’s present day in Washington, D.C. Dewey, fresh off the events of FIRST STRIKE, is given what is supposed to be a cakewalk assignment, at least relatively speaking. He is tasked by the CIA director to accompany the Secretary of State to Paris and provide security above and beyond that which is normally provided by the State Department. It’s part busywork, part babysitting, and yes, partially justified, given that the Secretary is engaging in secret talks.

Meanwhile, a silent coup from deep within the United States government is starting to take place. Originating with a plan formulated in the early 1980s, the takeover orchestration begins with the supposedly accidental death of the Speaker of the House, with the Vice President and President scheduled to follow suit. Dewey could perhaps prevent it, but he has problems of his own that come to a head when the Secretary of State is assassinated, and the doer plants evidence that points directly at Dewey. On the run and without his official resources, Dewey must open his mental Rolodex and contact people from his past, who may or may not be able --- or willing --- to help him, even as his enemies close in on him while a conspiracy decades in the making threaten to make an already unstable world even more dangerous.

Remember while you read TRAP THE DEVIL that it was written before the concept of a “deep state” was widely known to the general public, and well before a supporter of a presidential candidate attempted the violent assassination of several members of an opposing political party. Coes, as per usual, seems to be channeling current events as they occur, and ahead of the curve. It’s not a dry recitation, either. There are plenty of plot twists and turns, suspense, explosive situations, and a body count that seems ready to give the John Wick franchise a run for its money.

Read TRAP THE DEVIL and see why readers who are in the know consider Ben Coes the contemporary master of thriller authors.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on June 23, 2017

Trap the Devil
by Ben Coes

  • Publication Date: June 20, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • ISBN-10: 1250043182
  • ISBN-13: 9781250043184