_Operation: FREE BIRD_, A Review

Hello, All!

[I was able to read a pre-publication version of this book, and purchased it on its release date.]

The wait for the next installment (Gotta love the title!) in the Campbell/Greene Adventures is over! Once again, the team of Douglas Kimball, with Simon Templar as his technical advisor extraordinaire, delivers the perfect weekend getaway or staycation book. The story takes up after the medical cliffhanger at the end of book one , “Virga Joy”. As Colin Campbell, recovers from typhoid at a military hospital in Germany, in hopes of completing his Marine enlistment and returning to Costa Rica, he showcases his jazz piano talents for fellow patients, staffers, and even Armed Forces Radio and Television.

Meanwhile, at the “Rancho del Piper Nigrum”, Colin’s friend and partner in business and adventure, botanist Alan Greene, who’d been hastily removed from Afghanistan – and his covert work there – keeps the black pepper plants and citrus groves in good shape awaiting his friend’s return. At the back of Alan’s mind, a mission of another kind takes shape: His British colleague in Afghanistan had presented him with a letter containing a safe-deposit box key from a bank in Mumbai, and instructions about getting the contents to his wife in London, should he be kidnapped and killed. This had happened. Alan’s sense of duty, and Colin’s being assigned to a position with the Defense Intelligence Agency combine in a whirlwind that takes readers from Germany and Costa Rica, to DC, and London – with a side-trip for Alan – to visit an Afghan friend, who’s living in Paris.

That visit leads to a race against time. Small-time thugs, who’ve been listening in to internet chatter, are convinced that Alan holds the key to a “treasure” spirited out of Afghanistan. They kidnap Alan, in hopes of receiving ransom, or killing him and recovering the treasure. The U.S. State Department initiates a multi-national, joint-forces rescue plan – with a now-recovered Colin in the mix. Will they get to Alan in time?…

Did I mention that Fleur, Natalie – and a host of friends old and new – in Costa Rica are making plans for a wedding? As always, the duo of Campbell and Greene offer us immersive locales, cinematic adventure, and a dash of romance, to keep us wanting more. Enjoy this latest entry in my “go-to happy place” series, until the “three-quel”.


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