Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Book Review: Task Force Intrepid: The Gold of Katanga

Katanga Resources is an African mining company with operations in some of the nastier parts of the Congo. When two of their mining operations are attacked and overrun by gangs of murderous thugs carrying AKs and machetes, someone in a suit picks up a phone and calls in the cavalry.

In this case, the cavalry is Task Force Intrepid.

A team of international badasses led by Willem Kruger, who was born in South Africa but spent much of his life battling across the face of Africa as a member of several elite fighting units. I remember when I was a youngster during the 80's, hearing about the Selous Scouts and the Rhodesian SAS, but at the time, I didn't know much about them. Now, thanks to the much greater body of knowledge we all have access to, more of us are learning about these elite bush fighters and the many dirty wars they engaged in. Many military minds feel that the Scouts and the Rhodesian SAS perfected some of the best light infantry training and battle techniques around.

Back to the book. Kruger and several of his "private security consultant" buddies kit up and fly over to the DRC, or Democratic Republic of the Congo. They learn that both of Katanga's mines are occupied by Rebel scum, and what's more, a number of missionaries have been taken hostage, with a two million dollar price tag on their heads.  TF Intrepid is asked to chopper in and take out the bad guys guarding the mining camps, with extreme prejudice.

I don't want to give away spoilers, so I'll stop relaying the plot at this point. What follows in the book is a lot of high-quality action and adventure, as Kruger and his men begin to kick serious butt. The weapons and tactics are laid out for the reader in an easily digestible fashion, and you can see that the author, Dan Tharp, has really done his homework. You can feel the heat and the sand underneath your boots, you can see the AK-toting scumbags get blown to pieces by .50 caliber sniper fire, and you can feel the R4 assault rifle buck and roar in your hands as you turn rapist filth into buzzard meat. Although the book isn't one big shootout, Tharp does an excellent job of keeping the story moving and not letting the reader bog down in political details or get bored waiting around for the next gunfight.

All in all, if this book had been published 30 years ago, with "Able Team" or "Phoenix Force" above the words "The Gold of Katanga", and instead of Willem Kruger you had Carl Lyons or Yakov Katzenelenbogen leading their respective kill teams, you wouldn't much be able to tell the difference. I hope Dan Tharp understands that, coming from me, that is pretty high praise, since stories like this were the bread and butter of my childhood, and I still enjoy reading them, decades later.

Dan has another TFI book out, Highway to Hell, and I hope to read and review it soon.

1 comment:

Dan said...

Thanks very much for the review. As a first outing, I decided to write what I also enjoy and know that men and some women out there love a good straight forward action story. I put my heart into it and intend the Franchise to grow. Others have pointed out my formula as original pulp and I say I have met my goal. There is a time and place for more complexity and it will come but for now Kill them All and Let God Sort Them Out. DR Tharp