INTO A DARK FRONTIER is a the debut thriller from John Mangan. Hard to believe this is his first novel. The writing is crisp, the dialogue authentic, and the pacing non-stop.
While the book boosts that the story takes place in the near future, I am convinced it is not a future so far away. There is economic turmoil across the globe, and a land-snatch is underway. Africa is among the hardest hit. The entire continent is a mess. Escaping trumped up charges, ex-SEAL, Slade Crawford is on the run from authorities in the U.S. Slade finds himself on a boat with three-hundred pilgrims. The problem is that the pilgrims have no idea what they are walking into once they reach Africa.
Taking it on himself to guide these people, Slade realizes they are all in over their heads. Drowning, really. An organized group is moving across Africa and slaughtering colonies. The attacks are ritualistic, vicious, and bloody. There is no way Slade can keep everyone safe. Including himself.
Things get worse when Slade is captured by an American Colonel running a covert, and maybe not exactly sanctioned mission in Africa. The colonel knows all about Slade. His past, and what family the ex-SEAL has left. Using all he can as leverage, this colonel enlists Slade to do impossible recon.
The colonel wants to know what’s what in Africa. Who is behind the slaughters, dealing arms, and grabbing up the unsettled lands. The U.N. is everywhere. They might be more of a problem than a solution. Working with his hands tied behind his back, Slade has no choice but to do the colonel’s bidding.
And then things go from bad to worse when the crazy cult attacks Slade’s caravan of peaceful pilgrims. Maintaining an alley relationship might be Slade’s only chance to make right so many of the things that went wrong! In a race against time, Slade must get to the bottom of Africa’s problem or else risk losing himself to the world forever.
INTO A DARK FRONTIER is kind of like a Jack Reacher novel set in Africa. I hate comparing authors, or characters. This time it seems worth the comparison. It is a compliment. Mangan’s writing is taut, and compelling. The chapters are short, and engaging. I flew through the book in a few sittings. I only hope there are more, and the Mangan turns Slade into a recurring character. I am most definitely a fan!
Author of the Severed Empire series,
and the Vaccination Trilogy