Panama, with its humidity & sweltering temperatures, is our setting. The events take us from the seedy underbelly of the inner city to the US Embassy based there with many stops in between. The action is slow-going as it tiptoes between characters. None of them is an innocent bystander.
Ernesto, a Colombian who has immigrated to Panama, plies his trade as a cook. Employed in a compound by a man he's never met, he finds himself abruptly unemployed without cause. Seeking the grounds in an unguarded area for someone with answers, he finds himself in a room surrounded by expensive audio/visual equipment. Fueled by betrayal. he helps himself to a pricey camera.
Sam, an uppidty sharp-dressed man,thinks himself important as he sits in Panama sweating his way to a D.C. promotion. Territorial to the bone, the Embassy is his & he intends to keep it as such. A middle of the night phone call shatters his security. He's informed of a missing piece of irreplaceable equipment.
Al & Sam are the rock in each other's show. While Sam's life is comfortable, Al's isn't. A near hopeless alcoholic with a penchant for illegal fun, Al sits miserably in his small office. Tortured by hangovers & nightmares, he putters along in his position with the US Diplomatic Corps.
As the events unfold, these men find themselves up to their sweaty armpits in one big mess. A simple theft opens a Pandora's Box. What could be so important about one camera from a room full of them? How is a man who's never been seen so important to the government that they'll turn Panama upside down to find his item?
From start to finish the book is filled with foul language, sex, drugs, & violence. In all honesty, the drugs & violence are understandable. The abundance of sex & language served no purpose. It only slowed the action, clouded the 'good' parts, & became a distraction.
There was an extremely long amount of needless dialogue. Alot of the phone conversations were pointless as were the pages upon pages of background. The most exciting parts were the brief glimpses of unknown CIA operatives planning unidentified missions. If the author had substituted half the sex with more action, we'd have had one awesome book.
It's a little too slow & a little too sleazy for me. It's a shame, really. I believe we had a good plot. But, it got lost somewhere.
A disappointing 2-1/2 stars out of 5 is all I have to give & that's based solely on the CIA scenes with all the suspense.