Forgive me. I like the yarns spun by W.E.B. Griffin, more recently aided by his son. I am re-reading several of the series. The "Charley Castillo" series is a later series, enjoyable to me, with plots that are preposterous, with the books getting weaker and weaker as the series progresses into later books. The best were the Marine series and the Army series and even there the later books were of far less quality than the early books in the series. My biggest gripe with the "By Order of The President" that I call the Charley Castillo series is that the authors can't keep their facts consistent from book to book. There are so many factual contradictions with the earlier story telling in previous books that the mistakes cannot be counted. For instance, it is disturbing that one book ends dramatically when a canine character, Max, who saves Charley on at least two occasions, is rewarded when Charley obtains a female Bourvier d'Flanders as company for Max, and in a later book the female canine's acquisition is ascribed to another character in another place in another time having nothing to do with Max's contributions to Charley's welfare.. However, I still enjoy the fanciful tales and will continue to re-read at least one more series. That is why I subjectively gave the book a higher score that it deserves.
I find the writing to be compelling. Griffin writes of a hero in the James Bond genre, a larger than life Hispasnic American spy with a military background, high intelligence and physical prowess. He gives us insight into the thoughts of his characters by using italics to indicate their innermost thoughts as they speak words that may contradict their feelings. The first part of the book is a bit wordy, as the author seems compelled to give us a lot of the back story, but the pace increases as did my interest as I continued reading.
After tge first few chapters, I found myself intrigued by the plot line and immersed in the characters. If you like this type of spy novel, and make it past the first few chapters, i believe mosr readers will enjoy this book.
After completed the book, I immediately went shopping for more books in the series, featuring the same lead character, known simply as 'Charley.' I am enjoying my 2nd Griffin novel as I write this brief review.
It is ok, but not one of his better novels. This was written at the end of his career and is not very well done. That having been said, it is MUCH better than the horrible stuff that Butterworth is churning out. I read this series (the presidential agents) this summer whilst travelling and worked my way through the first 4 (or perhaps 5) in various airports and train stations. Ok, but not nearly as good as his previous series about the army, about the marines, and about the police in Philadelphia. In the first novel, the President of the USA is annoyed when a US diplomat in Argentina is killed. He sends a major (subsequently promoted) to deal with it. In the series of 4-5 novels I read, the plot gets more and more fantastic and less and less believable. Whereas the previous series were vaguely "reality based", this series is just looney. That having been said, it did pass the time in airports and train stations. I read them on my KINDLE to avoid lugging books around; that is a great solution to the problem of taking reading material with one.
It's entertaining enough, but the entire series has devolved into farce and parody. It's bad enough that the novels are so formulaic, but reading the Presidential Agent series, after the first two, made me realize that I don't need to ever read anything Griffin writes. I already know what I'll see. The rich dude who doesn't need to be in the (Army, Marine Corps, OSS, Philly PD) but does it because he's a warrior. And, he meets the tragic woman/women, before finally meeting up with and ending up with the most unlikely of all his paramours. And, he has a large number of very senior (Generals, Colonels, Police Department Bigwigs, Politicians) who just go along with him because, ya know, charismatic, manliness, do-gooding stuff. And, he flies all over the place, and has a connection who gets him the best hotels with booze and food and he doesn't pay for it.
Sound familiar? If you've ever read a Griffin book, that's what you saw.
As you can tell by the book description, Charlie is tasked with the job of finding a missing DEA agent. It seems that the drug dealers will kidnap an agent right before a big transport, and make him a junkie, then release him, hooked on coke or crack. Pegleg, a friend of the DEA agent (former Special forces- who lost a leg) turns to Charlie to help his friend.
As a female reader, I found the book a mixed bag. I thought it was choppy,(we reading about the mission, then all of a sudden we are in 1992) and improbable(I not sure of the size of Argentina, Paraguay or Uruguay but it seems pretty improbable that an individual could find someone without inside information) and the women poorly drawn.(women hate Charlie but get drunk and fall in bed with him). I also wish that I had kept track of the number of people that Charlie has told about the presidental finding because it seems at a drop of a hat, he is swearing someone to silence. What the book has is the return of the main characters, and their interaction in getting the job done, which seems realistic and thought out. I like Charlie, and I like all his band of merry men. I like reading about how the good guys win so I will continue to read Mr. Griffin books even if his women are stuck in the 50's.