THE PEACEMAKER: The Xander Pursuit (by Adam Hamilton)
“While relaxing at his country estate of Hewesridge, Barrington Hewes-Bradford, one of the world’s richest and most enterprising men, receives word of the explosive situation on Tarrago, site of a number of his business ventures and an important ally of the United States. Sensing the delicacy of the situation, which could lead to an extended war, Hewes-Bradford uses all of his resources, all of his courage, and all of his potency to vanquish the malignant forces!”
While reading The Xander Pursuit, book three in The Peacemaker series by Adam Hamilton, I was reminded of my childhood in the late Seventies when I would role-play Charlie’s Angels with my friends, Stacy and Molly. As you can probably guess, I was always assigned the role of Sabrina Duncan; probably because my name was Sabrina, perhaps because my hair, although blonde, was styled the same way, straight, plain, and boring.
Regardless of how much fun we probably had playing the gun-wielding threesome, I always hated being one of the Angels. Sure, they got to fight the bad guys. But more often than not, they ran around in bikinis and played the kidnap victim needing to be saved by the other Angels. Boring! I was on my tenth assignment for Charlie—my turn to play the part of the kidnapped Angel—when my dislike for that type of role blossomed. And it was the very next day that I started doubling-up my characters by playing the part of Charlie Townsend, as well.
Me? Playing Charlie? Heck yeah! Charlie had it easy. Lounging about—usually near a beach with what I can only assume was scotch on the rocks—Charlie made important decisions and led his team of go-to girls all while receiving the affectionate attention of numerous women. Switching the women for men and replacing the scotch with some Coca-Cola Classic with extra ice, and you’ve got a win-win situation for a girl like me. I mean, really … who wouldn’t want to be Charlie?
Barrington Hughes-Bradford, that’s who!
Having inherited his father’s fortune, Barrington has managed to become the wealthiest man in the world by creating several international companies and serving as Chairman of the Board to pretty much all of them. All while masquerading as a private spy and do-gooder—head of The Peacemaker Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making the world a safer place. By dispatching his elite crime-fighting squad throughout the world, Barrington has the ability to track down murderers and prevent wars and economic downfalls without being distracted from swooning the ladies and hobnobbing with the wealthy and powerful.
In The Xander Pursuit, Barrington is in the middle of a dinner party when a mysterious caller offers to sell him information regarding a plot to topple Tarrago, a small island that Barrington loaned twenty millions dollars to in the hopes of preventing an economic crisis. Believing the information credible, Barrington and his number-one man, Trask, meet the mysterious caller in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere, only to find him DOA.
The mysterious caller and his unfortunate death send Barrington and his crew to Tarrago. In the story you’ll read about a murder, a drowning, another murder, possible love, wine, cocktails, s-e-x, a couple of ladies in distress, and an explosive ending that will leave you questioning whether or not Barrington’s quest for peace isn’t more about protecting his own assets, and if his team of elite crime fighters should consider retirement.
Considering the book’s Prologue murdered a man carrying a briefcase, I was a little shocked to find another dead man by the end of Chapter One, and another dead guy in Chapter Two. Not to mention the dead woman in Chapter Six, and the other dead woman in Chapter Nineteen.
Yeah, I know, there can never be too many murders in a crime novel, right? Usually for me, the bloodier the better. But the deaths in this book happen so quickly I found myself rereading sections just to understand what was happening. And the death of the first woman was so senseless, and her character made to be so helpless that I found myself angry and unbelievably irritated, as her death was caused by the learning-curve of one of Barrington’s “elite” members. Even more frustrating is that that same elite member makes the same mistake later in the book, which, unsurprisingly leads to the death of the woman in Chapter Nineteen. I thought these crime fighters were the best of the best? Yeah, not so much. Or maybe Mr. Hamilton just doesn’t know what the word “elite” means.
And then we have Barrington, or Barry as he likes to be called, burning the midnight oil as he seduces a beautiful woman, meets with financial leaders, and shows off his mariner and astronomy skills while “watching” Trask gather secret intel. Then, just when you’re about to give up on Barrington’s peacemaker ideals and savior-like qualities, he bursts onto the scene with a .50-caliber machine gun attached to his Lear jet (not a euphemism … although that might have made the book more interesting) and sinks the very ship that’s about to bring war to two nations.
That last scene … made me giggle.
But it also reminded me why I liked playing the role of Charlie Townsend so much. Playing the damsel in distress has never been my kind of thing. But playing the role of the character that doesn’t really do anything doesn’t sound like much fun anymore, either. I mean, really. Other than giving out assignments, what did Charlie bring to the team? Nothing, absolutely nothing.
So, flash forward some thirty years or so later when I’ve been given this treasured book to read, and I’m thinking Barrington Hughes-Bradford would have been a pretty fun role to play, too. I mean, really, Barry is James Bond sexy with a ’70s porn–style look. He’s like Charlie Townsend, only his Angels are all men. He’s giving the orders and busting a few moves along the way. Something tells me that even without reading the other books in this series; Barrington Hughes-Bradford always saves the day. In the words of my friend Kari, Barrington is the perfect “man-whore, puppet-master protagonist.”
So, if we dump the porn-star looks for a sexy femme fatale style, keep the male Angels, and switch the cocktails to Coca-Cola Classic with extra ice … you’ve got another win-win situation for a girl like me, ’cause I’ve always wanted to be a puppet master. Haven’t you?
WANTED: MALE ANGELS WITH SOLID SIX PACKS (of Coke, that is) *wink wink*
I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend this series, but even with its flaws and over-the-top storyline, I found this book in the series rather entertaining, even comical at times. Would I read the other books in the series? Well, I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I’m curious …
Sabrina Ogden is a grasshopper by day, wife, mother to two adorable beagles, and a lover of books and dreaming. She spends her free time reading, playing on twitter, and editing for the online web-zine Shotgun Honey. You can find her sharing personal stories and writing book reviews at myfriendscallmekate.com.