27 Dec Review of Black Flagged Apex by Steven Konkoly
Apex is the third book in author Steven Konkoly’s Black Flagged series and it might well be the best of the three. The twists and turns in this novel are varied and interesting, but the approach Konkoly takes here is a bit different than in his other novels. Bureaucratic infighting and intrigue have always been a staple in his past works, but here in Apex he raises the stakes even higher for Petrovich, Sanderson and his regular cast of BF characters.
The most intriguing character from Redux was a mad Russian scientist named Anatoly Reznikov. Reznikov makes his presence strongly felt in Apex, as evident by the canisters of Zulu virus he’d sold to Al Queda and shipped to the United States. The effects of this virus are monstrous and readers of Redux will no doubt remember the terrifying scene in that book when the citizens of a Russian city suffered from its cognitive backlash. Can you say zombies?
Apex, however, takes a different approach. The canisters end up in the hands of True America, a right wing political group aptly named and with two separate branches. The first, and the largest, takes shape as a legitimate grass roots political action group. The second branch is the more radical and shadowy of the two groups, working in militant fashion behind the scenes to effect change by any and all means possible. And if that includes viral poisoning then so be it.
A plot is set-up first by Al Queda and then by True America to unleash the virus on the American people, and it sets in furious motion the return of General Sanderson, a major source of intrigue in the BF series. In the previous novel, Sanderson’s rogue outfit and the government worked to reach a fragile truce. But this temporary pact is put to the limits by the domestic terror plot to infect Americans with the Zulu virus. Extra legal measures are required to uncover the truth, and only Sanderson and Petrovich possess the ability to bring about such answers before America is ruined.
Konkoly’s writing and pace have never been sharper, but what most impressed this reviewer about Apex is the keen, world-weary dialogue that takes place between longtime bureaucrats situated in high positions. It’s as almost as if the author worked in one of these agencies himself. Apex is his longest book and one that will lead the reader on a long, adventurous and breathless journey through the deepest secrets of American government and corporate culture. This book wins on many levels and will surely secure its status in the genre.