Title: The Outlaws
Author: W. E. B. Griffin
Griffin, W. E. B. (2010) and William E. Butterworth IV. The Outlaws: A Presidential Agent Novel. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons
- Charlie Castillo’s secret unit has been disbanded, but that doesn’t mean he’s out of business. A FedEx package arrives, bearing photos of barrels containing some of the most dangerous biohazard materials on Earth, all of which were supposed to have been destroyed during a raid on a secret Russian factory in the Congo. Who has them, and what do they want? Castillo has a feeling he’s not going to like the answers.
Date Updated: November 2, 2015
I like Griffin novels. That is, I like novels written by W. E. B. Griffin, period. I don’t find his collaborative novels, such as this one with his son, all that good. I suspect that Griffin wrote the outline (maybe with collaboration) and that Butterworth filled in the story, maybe with changes suggested by Griffin. At any rate, this book cannot measure up to the quality of Hostage, the first in this series.
In Griffin and Butterworth’s sixth presidential agent thriller (after Black Ops), the U.S. president has ordered Lt. Col. Carlos “Charley” Castillo to disband his secret organization, the Office of Organizational Analysis, and to “fall off the face of the earth.” Charlie Castillo’s secret unit has been disbanded-but that doesn’t mean he’s out of business.
When the president dies of a ruptured aorta, Charley elects instead to reorganize his outfit. As experience has painfully shown him, there are many things the intelligence community can’t do, won’t do, or doesn’t do well, and he has the people and assets to help set things straight.
The first opportunity, when it comes, is shocking: A FedEx package arrives, bearing photos of barrels containing some of the most dangerous biohazard materials on earth, all of which were supposed to have been destroyed during a raid on a secret Russian factory in the Congo. Who has them, and what do they want? Castillo has a feeling he’s not going to like the answers.
Castillo soon becomes entangled in intrigue involving several barrels of virulent biological weaponry and a demand from Vladimir Putin to return the two Russian spies who defected in Black Ops. The new U.S. president, who hates Charley’s guts, wants to turn him over to Putin along with the two defectors. Charley and his intrepid gang engage in meticulous planning, fill in the backstory, banter among themselves, and fly around in exotic planes. Series fans who love these characters will find the novel fulfilling; newcomers and those expecting a big payoff will be disappointed. I am increasingly disappointed with the “contributions” that Butterworth appears to be making. It just isn’t the old Griffin whose books I have really enjoyed.