The convenience of the ability of deception always depends, especially in a literal sense, on the people surrounding a certain person or situation. This idealogy implants itself specifically in the narrative progression of “Targets Of Perception” [Jeffrey Stephens/Variance/329 pgs]. Drawing on many progressions that have served the Bourne novels so well with a slight dash of Dirk Pitt without the academic overarching, the lead character of Jordan Sandor here takes the undeniable bent of a man stuck between two lives and yet living both. The pacing here is what gives the novel a breathe of focus simply because the story progression highlights with emphasis on how characters will react beyond the actual fact of what they are doing. In most times, the problem is that characters within certain situations do not seem comfortable with their own skin. Sandor is a simple character but with enough brashness and humor to make him effusive but not overwrought. Certain story elements throw Jordan back into a cloister of situations that force him to react and reveal a terrorism effort headed by one of his former intelligence superiors with whom he has lost no love. The entrance of a female character always gives a sense of dynamic but like the recent movie “Book Of Eli”, Christine here comes off in terms of story imprint as little more than a plot progression to connect the dots. Her presence and explanation for her actions is mediocre at best. Despite this, her interaction with Jordan forces him to always question himself.
The other strong force in the novel is a former mercenary who decided he was in too deep. Michael Andrioli as character gives you those great lines one would see in a James Cameron film. He knows that he is knee deep in it but can only see the humor in the futility of his situation. The use of well perceived locations in addition to sun soaked visions of Palermo bring the vision of the climax into focus. While the resolve is more than satisfying, the book doesn’t trail too much below the surface which inherently might have bogged down the pace. “Targets Of Deception” is a fun fast read using some expected twists but allowing of the simple pleasures of a covert op hoping everything turns out his way. Out of 5, I give it a 3