Is Judd Ryker the next Jack Ryan?

Last month, I got to meet author Todd Moss, who was speaking at Politics and Prose in Washington D.C. I have to say that I’m so happy I did. That day I purchased both of his Judd Ryker books. He even signed Minute Zero for me.

It took me very little time to read both books. I couldn’t put either one of them down! If you’re looking for a political thriller filled with mystery and action that is set in Africa, look no further than Todd’s books. And, to finally answer the question posed in my blog title, yes. Yes, I would say that Judd Ryker is the State Department’s Jack Ryan (I’m a huge of Tom Clancy’s early books featuring Jack Ryan so I feel qualified to make the comparison—in my humble opinion, of course!) He’s crafty and intelligent, and not afraid to go to great lengths to prove his theories…all the while helping the good guys come out on top.

The Golden Hour


The Golden Hour: In international politics, the hundred hours following a coup, when there is still a chance that diplomacy, a secret back channel, military actionsomethingmight reverse the chain of events.

As the top American diplomat for West Africa, Todd Moss saw a great deal about how diplomacy and politics actually work. But as he shows us, the results aren’t always pretty.The_Golden_Hour

When Judd Ryker is appointed director of the new State Department Crisis Reaction Unit, he figures he has a mandate to help the United States respond more quickly to foreign crises, but he hasn’t reckoned with the intense State, Defense, Pentagon, White House, and CIA infighting and turf battles he would face. Then comes the coup in Mali. It is his chance to prove that his theory of the Golden Hour actually worksbut in the real world, those hours move very, very quickly indeed, and include things he’d never even imagined.

As Ryker races from Washington across Europe to the Sahara Desert, he finds that personalities, loyalties, everything he thought he knew, begin to shift and change beneath his feetand that friends and enemies come in many forms.

* * *

I confess I read a good bit of this book while waiting for the Metro or while on the metro (gotta love it when Metro decides to singletrack!). The plot and characters immediately grabbed my attention. Even though Mr. Moss incorporated flashbacks, they were easy to follow (he broke them into chapters). The story kept moving, and it was nice reading something written by someone who has “been there, done that” and has the shirt to go with it. Sorry, if that’s a bit cliche, but it made the story that much more realistic.

My rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Minute Zero


In the life of every country, at a moment of extreme national disruption, there is a brief period of breakdown, when everything is uncertain, events can turn on a dime. That is the moment to act, to shape events howyou want them to go. That is Minute Zero.

Fresh off the harrowing events of The Golden Hour , State Department crisis manager Judd Ryker is suddenly thrown into a quickly developing emergency in Zimbabwe, where a longtime strongman is being challenged for the presidency. Rumors are flying furiously: armed gangs, military crackdowns, shady outside money pouring in, and, most disturbing for the United States, reports of highly enriched uranium leaking into the market.

And that’s all before RykerMinute_Zero even lands in the country. It gets much worse after that. If he can’t get control, shape his Minute Zero , a lot of people are going to die—not least of all himself.

* * *

I liked Minute Zero better than The Golden Hour even though I liked the concept behind The Golden Hour better. I think the fact that Papa, Bull, and Sunday were all back certainly helped. I also appreciated how things turned out with Judd’s wife (not going to spoil that one so you’ve got to read). Yep, that’s right…get ready for some twists and turns in this one!

Can’t wait for the next installment!

My rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars

You can find Todd Moss here or on Twitter @toddjmoss. After checking out his website, it looks like there will be 4 Judd Ryker books. *happy dance*

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