Dale Brown, putting it mildly, is inconsistent. Sometimes his novels are lackluster or worse. Other times, like his breakthrough "Flight of the Old Dog" are absolute page turners. "Strike Force" is one of Brown's best in recent years, a real page turner, loaded with action.
Many of the characters will be familiar to Brown's fans. Patrick McLanahan, the maverick general running Dreamland; President Martindle; Hal Briggs and some others. There are lots of new characters introduced to the Air Battle Force. One, in fact, may wonder at Brown's motivation in adding so many women to the combat roster. However, they all behave as if they were men, so it doesn't do anything one way or another to the story.
The story is complex in a way. An Iranian army general is demoted and shifted to an irregular religious militia where it is hoped he will be killed by a fanatic. As it turns out, the general initiates an insurgency against the theocracy. Iran is, by the way, nuclear capable in this novel which plays a big part in the story.
Brown really stretches things by having an unbelievably precocious 15 year old expatriate Iranian princess return to usurp both the insurgency and the theocracy.
But never fear: McLanahan is ready, disobeying orders, inciting Russia, invading a few countries with his Tin Man Air Battle Force, reactivating a militarized space station and, in general, doing what McLanahan does.
The characters are on the thin side, but in a Brown novel, that doesn't matter much: it's what they do that propels the story, not who they are. The plot, as usual, features lots of Washington inner sanctum warfare with ambitious, avaricious polticians and staffers - other than the President - doing what they perceive as best for themselves without regard for the nation's welfare. There are a couple of major editing blunders, but the action moves so fast, you probably won't catch them and if you do, they won't matter.
All in all, a terrific adventure read, especially for those who enjoy techno-thrillers. "Strike Force" is an absolute delight.