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An FBI Agent wades into a barrage of lethal automatic weapons fire in Dallas, with only a 35-pound Kevlar vest to protect him. An aging mayor in a tiny Mexican town is brutally stoned to death after watching all his villagers killed — men, women and children. What connects these two incredibly violent events?

You’ll be gnawing your fingernails throughout this exceptional adventure novel that chronicles the exploits of FBI Agent James Carr as he methodically begins hunting down the leaders of the drug cartels that are importing literally tons of cocaine and methamphetamines into the U.S. from Mexico.

Author dhtreichler delivers a gripping, true-to-life story that details just what it takes to stem the tide of illegal drugs flowing across our border today. From frighteningly realistic firefights to privileged conversations inside the White House, Treichler’s dynamic, flawlessly written prose delivers both vivid action scenes and introspective insights into the strong characters on both sides of the conflict. Indeed, it is this unique ability to see deeply inside the key players that pushes this book far above others in this genre.

Agent Carr is on a short leash as the action opens, the direct result of his responsibility for the deaths of an abnormally high number of bad guys in two years. In addition, his superiors aren’t thrilled that he disobeyed explicit orders multiple times during that same period. He’s made many enemies, and at least one has exacted revenge by ruthlessly eliminating most of his family by gunfire and fireball at their ranch in North Texas. His father, he is grieved to learn, is missing.

Carr vows to make them pay.

He begins working with various intragovernmental agencies to break the back of the cartels and, at the same time, find the perpetrators responsible for the death of his family members and the apparent abduction of his dad.

As the story progresses, Agent Carr trains exhaustively for a planned black ops incursion into Mexico to “destabilize” the cartels and stem the flow of drugs. The rigorous training in a chillingly realistic virtual simulator, is broken by cleverly written repartee between Carr and partner Willy Graves. It offers a humorous counterpoint to all the violence. At one point, Willy sums up his philosophy of the politics surrounding the upcoming mission:

“We need to make sure they don’t kill innocent folks over here the way they’re doin’ south of the Rio Grande.” He shrugged. “I’m not into all that greater good bullshit.”

In a unique twist, the author frequently switches narrative point of view to allow the reader into the mind and motives of those at the top of the Mexican drug organization. It’s a fascinating look inside the relentless business practices of the top players, and adds depth and dimension to what might otherwise be stereotypical villains with non–American last names.

This is a gritty, no-holds-barred thriller and adventure tale, full of fast–paced action and international intrigue. And, there’s even a bit of a love interest weaved into the tale, as Carr tries to figure out his increasing infatuation with his boss, Alene Oliviera, a highly placed Justice Department official.

As a bonus, the author’s mastery of combat tactics, advanced weaponry, and battlefield situations adds invaluable realism throughout this well-written work of fiction — that could just as easily be a true account of how the war on drugs is being played out in real life.

Five stars to The End Game. You’ll be rooting for the good guys all the way to the novel’s exciting conclusion — and, you’ll hold the main characters in your memory long after that.

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