Operation Hail Storm is a thriller that sees multi-billionaire Marshall Hail use his vast resources to fight a personal vendetta against terrorism. In a way, I could almost see Hail’s story within the comic book hero genre, if it wasn’t for the vivid realism that Brett Arquette brings to his novel.
After losing his family in a terrorist attack, Hail outfits his fleet of cargo ships, used as part of his global nuclear power corporation, with advanced weaponry. Relying primarily on drone technology, piloted by young, elite video gamers, Hail is ready to strike back. And, he has the potential to strike anyone, anywhere, at anytime.
He was the force that would offset the glob of human sewage that had slipped all the way down the purulent hill and just needed that little extra nudge to allow it to fall over the rim and tumble into the pit of hell.
Arquette has clearly spent time researching, or perhaps is simply an avid fan of, both drone and general military equipment, and he uses this to great effect to bring intricate detail to his plot. I imagine this level of detail will appeal to certain die-hard fans of the genre but a lot of the early chapters are dominated by arguably needless explanations of the technology. Although well laid out, it’s certainly not succinct, and is a risky use of valuable first chapter real estate.
By using Avian soaring performance aerodynamics, the computers could make a fuzzy-logic determination if the current thermal was worth riding or if a burn should take place so another thermal could be located.
And, at times it feels like you’re reading a technical specification sheet.
The Browning M2 .50-caliber Heavy Machine Gun, better known as the “Ma Deuce”, was mounted next to the XM307 ACSW Advanced Heavy Machine Gun. The M2 could spit out 850 rounds per minute of armor-piercing incendiary rounds that could perforate an inch of hardened steel armor plate at a distance of a hundred yards.
On the plus side, this same level of detail is brought to bear on the characters too, their backgrounds and development enriching the narrative. Alongside Hail, Kara Ramey plays the female lead, a beautiful but deadly female CIA operative, whose relationship with Hail is strained by the secretive nature of her mission, as well as her own personal goals to avenge her parent’s death.
In concept, the writing quality is good throughout but it’s slightly thwarted by an insufficient amount of proofreading. Towards the end of the book, typos appear regularly, and at some point a search and replace seems to have removed every double ‘l’ within the book.
The ending comes quite suddenly, in comparison to the pacing of the rest of the book, but does a good job of tying up the primary mission whilst also setting us up for an inevitable sequel.
The plot is cleverly laid out and executed, and I enjoyed the back and forth between the US security council and Hail as they attempt to reign him under control. One thing missing from the story line however is a clear tie in to the perpetrators of ‘The Five’, which is the horrific terrorist attack that forms an important part of many of the characters back story’s. Something which I hope Arquette will bring into focus in the next instalment.