Robert Cook

Pulse, by Robert Cook pits Cooch, an Arab-American, and the rest of his team against the nation, or at least the leaders, of Iran in a scenario in which Iran has a nuclear warhead, but primed mostly as a EMP weapon to be used against Israel.

If you are willing to put up with the long setup, the war scenes at the end are well written and feel like a realistic playout of the forces involved. It was especially interesting to see weapons talked about recently in Scientific American appearing on the scene in the book.

Aside from that I struggled with the characterization. Everybody Cooch assembled was the best at whatever they did. Not one person in his circle was anything less than exceptional. Unfortunately it also made them unbelievable. They could set up the overthrow of a sovereign nation without breaking a sweat. Strengths are okay in their place, but it is weaknesses that make a character (or group of characters) interesting.

Alongside of that issue, the dialogue was unremittingly dense and intelligent, but it also said only what was on the surface. There weren’t any murky bits to create misunderstanding. Everyone (even the liberal types) said just what they thought, then just accepted the other person’s view and left it at that. It is the subtexts and murky sections that make dialogue evocative.

Not that Pulse is a bad book. If you like modern warfare books you will enjoy this one completely.

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