Whenever I review one of Poyer’s Dan Lenson books I always say how much I like them. Well, this is no exception. As usual with the Lenson books, it’s not just a techno-thriller: it’s a book about people. Oh, there’s also an epidemic in this one – I’m glad I read it before the coronavirus hit.
The good news is that this is another
Dan Lenson book
and Poyer’s protagonist remains believable, imperfect, and introspective; those are all
uncommon traits among military thriller genre heroes. The
not-so-good news is that “Tipping Point” ends almost randomly. The
tortured subtitle hints that this is the beginning of a new story arc.
Leaving plot threads open as a setup for future books is fine, but I prefer
series books to have an identifiable beginning and end.
I was glad Poyer put his fictional naval officer Dan Lenson back on board
ship after the previous book in the series. Poyer
is at his best when dealing with character and
the problems of command; here he’s playing to his strengths.
Poyer puts his hero Dan Lenson in the Pentagon on 9/11 and Lenson’s wife
in the World Trade Center. Afterwards Lenson and his wife are both
caught up in the country’s response. Like the other books in the
series, it’s above average modern military fiction,
but merging the Lensons’ fictional timeline into real world events feels a little
Poyer shows his versatility in this book of the Dan Lenson series. Its
predecessor was a solid techno-thriller but
this is more of a geo-political novel about a fictional African nation
(think Yemen) on the verge of becoming a failed state. Lenson
takes back seat to several other characters’ – both American and
African – stories. The variety of characters and complexity of the
plot makes it stand out from other novels in the modern military fiction genre.
Poyer’s protagonist, Dan Lenson, returns, this
time to obtain a deadly carrier-threatening new torpedo. The action moves
briskly from Russia to the Philippines to Iraq. Lenson’s that rare
thriller hero who acts more like a human than a comic book character.
I enjoy Poyer’s “Tales of the Modern Navy” series because, unlike most
military fiction, it’s not jingoistic. However, this one, unlike thelast one, is only a fair seagoing
adventure. Poyer’s main character (Dan Lenson) is detached to the Korean
navy as a wargame evaluator, there’s bad weather, and the North Koreans
get aggressive. There’s nothing wrong with the book, it just isn’t