What a great little read, sort of “Ludlum-lite” for those who enjoy political thrillers, but not too heavy or too complex. It’s a bit like watching an episode of ’24’ but with less violence. This is the first instalment in the Judd Ryker series. Mali has just experienced a coup and Ryker is the man from the State Department to turn it around. The ‘Golden Hour’ is a medical term referring to that critical first hour that makes all the difference in the chances of recovery in a patient with a medical emergency. College professor turned diplomat Judd Ryker, called away from his wife and children on the beach during a vacation, is determined to road test his (up till now academic) ‘Golden Hour’ theory in the realm of global politics, and reverse the coup as soon as possible. But there are so many things going on…various players vie for position in the crisis, and there are many factors like drug smuggling, kidnapping, and terrorism activity that confuse the issues. Plus it’s hard to know who is telling the truth.
What I loved about this book was how easy it was to read and even though I often didn’t have a clue what was going on, neither did Judd and that was very endearing and reassuring. At the same time, it was interesting to learn about how a crisis like this is approached by those working in international affairs–it feels very current. The book has short, snappy chapters that really move things along and the ending was priceless! There is a second instalment in the series already available called Minute Zero and a third is in the works.
Todd Moss brings his own experience to the novel, having worked as a senior State Department official and has himself responded to coups and crises in West Africa. This is his website which is totally worth a visit, especially the ‘About Todd’ feature.