The Recruit – Alan Drew

The year is 1985 and computers are just beginning to come into vogue. Richard Potter Wales is on his way via jet to an undisclosed location to meet the ‘Reverend’ – the head of America’s Divine Promise Ministries and also a cover for a national white supremacy movement. Wales is hoping to gain the Reverends favor with his plan for computerized bulletin boards to begin networking with other groups. With levels of password protection, these boards would enable conversation with like-minded groups across the country in hopes of preserving what they see as a dying culture.  

Fast forward to 1987, where Detective Benjamin Wade answers a call for a sick child in the So. Cal town of Rancho Santa Elena. As he arrives the toddler is in cardiac arrest, and the family dog has gone missing. Ben successfully resuscitates him, but afterward, noticing a strange taste in his mouth, he returns to the scene, where he finds a strange patch of green coloring in the snow.  He bags it up and sends it for analysis, wondering if this may be the source of the child’s malady. 

Meanwhile, Natasha Betencourt, a county medical examiner and Ben’s girlfriend, is on a scene of her own, where a wealthy real estate developer has just been found dead in his pool. At first glance, a drowning is questioned, but as Detective Joseph Vanek and Natasha work the scene, there appears to be evidence of head trauma. 

Bao Phan, his wife Ai and daughter Linh Phan are Vietnemese refugees who have settled in Rancho Santa Elena, operating a small grocery store. Having fled their country in 1975 during the Vietnam war, they have found peace and acceptance in the community. So it comes as a surprise to them when they find a dead dog in the alley behind their store. Pinned to the dogs ear is a note that states, “Kill them all”.  

Jacob Clay is a young man who finds himself slowly immersed in a violent teen-aged white supremacist group. Impressionable, and already experimenting with violence on his own, Jacob allows himself to be groomed by the group’s leader, Ian Rowan. He must shed blood to gain full acceptance into the group and be rewarded with the coveted, red-laced boots. The victim he chooses will shatter a family but will ultimately pull these storylines together with devastating results as Ben, Natasha & Vanek work to find those responsible once and for all. 

Wow! This was a suspenseful & terrifying read!!  Set in the post-Vietnam war era, where acceptance of other cultures was just gaining momentum, this is a fictional glimpse (but is it, really?) into the mind and hearts of white supremacists – and the lengths many will go to protect a legacy that they feel is rightfully theirs. The characters are colorful (although it took me a minute to keep them straight), the events are horrifying, and the clandestine meetings and mediums used to disseminate hate will linger long after the last page is turned. One can’t help but contemplate recent world events and how they came to fruition after reading this novel…. 

 I sure hope to see Ben and Natasha again in future writings! What a dynamic duo!!

I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley & Random House in exchange for an objective review.  Do you love to read?? Visit and start reviewing books today!!