The series begins with Rainey on a business trip in Jerusalem. In and out of getting laid by a beautiful language expert, Rainey learns through the grapevine that a notorious assassin named Maltese has been hired by an unknown banana country to kill him. These opening chapters have Rainey prowling the streets finding informers that could lead him to Maltese instead of the other way around. In the fast-paced, explosive early chapters, Rainey and Maltese square off in a hotel and those scenes alone are worth handling a filthy old paperback for an hour or two.
These books have a pattern similar to the Assignment series by Edward S. Aarons. The hero is hired or assigned an international case involving the overthrow of a dictator, protecting a targeted leader, or quelling a rebellion. The pattern is the hero learns the history of the conflict, scouts the lay of the land, and then hires locals to train for assistance in stopping the global danger.
In Spoils of War, Rainey takes a $3,500 per month job to fight for the Christians in Lebanon. The Lebanese government is experiencing a conflict between the Muslims and Christians (no shit) that they want to keep as peaceful as possible. But, the Muslims have been angered so they have captured a Christian village and have begun to systematically execute villagers each day until their demands are met. Lebanese's central government doesn't want to involve their military for fear of panic and hysteria. So, a discreet operation to retake the village and kill the Muslims is where Rainey's services are required.
Needless to say, this series is exceptional and McCurtin's plotting is superb. Not only is the curtain jerker skirmish fantastic, but once the plot unveils with Rainey's newest gig, the novel hits a new level. What I love about these books is Rainey's interaction with the local governments and training killers. I also really admire Rainey's attitude that he will fight for any side if the money is right. But, his golden rule is once he's accepted and committed to one side, he is never convinced or lured to the enemy with more money. He is a man of his word and I find that admirable.
Spoils of War is brutally violent, fast-paced, and chock-full of gunfire, fisticuffs, traitors, assassins, murder, and some surprising dialogue on the absurdity of these types of wars. If you love men's action-adventure novels, you need to be reading this series. Recommended!