Book Review – State of Emergency by Steve Vincent

How much freedom are you willing to sacrifice in the name of national security?

State of Emergency CoverIn State of Emergency, the second book in the Jack Emery series by Steve Vincent, we grapple with this question through the eyes of several viewpoint characters as they deal with an unprecedented wave of terror attacks on US soil. Once again, Steve Vincent has shown he’s not afraid to tackle big issues. Amid the gunfire and explosions we see a nuanced exploration of the balance between individual liberty and the greater good.

As the novel begins we find Jack Emery a scarred man, gun-shy after his adventures in The Foundation. He’s a reluctant hero, unwilling to be drawn into the moral quagmire that results when the President declares a state of emergency and enacts extraordinary measures to overcome the terrorist threat. Eventually, of course, the situation becomes so dire that Jack has no option but to pick a side. Cue all hell breaking loose.

“Jack has no option but to pick a side. Cue all hell breaking loose.”

State of Emergency brings back some of the characters we met in The Foundation, but also gives us new characters to get to know. Steve Vincent deftly sets us up to cheer for people on both sides of the conflict, making some of the confrontations gut-wrenchingly tense. He also highlights the moral ambiguity of using force to impose order on a population in the pursuit of safety.

Vincent propels the story along at a bone-jarring pace. Moments of reflection are interspersed with brilliantly executed firefights and some truly memorable explosions. (Hoover Dam, anyone?) State of Emergency is an impressive thriller, cementing Vincent’s status as an action writer to watch.