Let’s Read Hostile Intent ch. 28-31

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Let’s take a break from all this pulse-pounding geopolitical action to check in on Eddie Bartlett: All-American Dad.

Eddie’s family is typical for this kind of story, in that he has a highly idealized and kind of twee relationship with his wife and daughter who know nothing about his actual job (or do they????). I have complained many times that a lot of writers, even good ones, are terrible at writing children, and Walsh is no exception, as Eddie’s daughter is supposed to be eight but comes across more like a teenager in a lot of ways.

As Diane nodded, Jade let out what sounded like a series of war whoops, which was the way young girls expressed enthusiasm these days.

I can’t say I’ve ever noticed this myself.

Danny Impellatieri was “Eddie Bartlett’s” real name,

Dun dun duuuuuun. I’m not entirely sure why this wasn’t just revealed earlier. I had considered using Danny from the start anyway, but I figured that would be confusing with quotes referring to him as Eddie.

(By the way, Danny-Eddie has a tattoo with “Danny Boy” written on it on his arm, the same tattoo that Hope spotted earlier. Tattooing your real name onto your skin seems like a bit of a security oversight for a super-duper holy fuck mega secret agent)

The great March to the Sea, however, was now over and many of the young Hollywood stars were now rediscovering the joys of living off the Wilshire-Beverly-Sunset grid and finding that they could somehow survive without getting shot in neighborhoods close to, you know, where “they” lived. “They” being LA PC-speak for People of Color.

It’s a bit late to be earning brownie points, book.

Sure enough, they were still running with the “Aftermath of the Tragedy” logos—these days, direct, murderous assaults on Americans were called “tragedies” instead of “acts of war”

Gee, I wonder why acts carried out by terrorist groups with no national affiliation might not be classified as acts of war. Why, it’s almost as if words exist to communicate ideas rather than inflame public sentiment!

Anyway, Danny thinks uneasily about how the school operation nearly ended in disaster and wonders if Devlin is losing his touch.

Speaking of Devlin, he’s on his way to Camp David to meet the president. Would you believe he spends a large part of the chapter detailing the many high-tech security measures present? I know, you’re all shocked. Around this point I started to wonder if Devlin was supposed to be some kind of robot.

If Seelye had drawn this up on the blackboard back in 1985, it couldn’t have turned out better for him, or worse for Devlin. The man who had made a whore of his mother and a cuckold out of his father, and who had inadvertently gotten both of them killed.

Plot twist, I guess. Also wow Devlin what happened to the creepy mom-worship.

Once again, Devlin starts out looking down on Tyler, but it seems Tyler is growing more and more competent. This is the beginning of his character arc from clueless sissified liberal to thrust-jawed conservative, in case you couldn’t tell. Devlin reveals that arch-villain Milverton (aka Charles) was behind the school attack and Tyler orders Devlin to track him down and eliminate him. Devlin also reveals that Tyler’s pal Bob Hartley appears to have been in contact with someone behind the attack, which isn’t technically true- remember, in the last post we saw Hartley being forced at gunpoint to hack into something, so he’s being set up.

Speaking of which, let’s check in on Hartley:

As Balzac once said, behind every great fortune is a great crime, and if Hartley played his cards right, he could wind up with everything—money, power, glory. Already there were stocks, rather a lot of them, that he was to sell short today, very short, and he was encouraged to spread the word to select individuals, corporate managers, defense contractors, and pension-fund bosses of his acquaintance—very discreetly—that rolling back their exposure to certain things, immediately if not sooner, would pay huge dividends.

Our first real clue that the main point behind all of these evil schemes is economic. Yes, we’ll find out more later. No, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Hartley’s mysterious attacker has him in a perilous situation, considering there’s still a corpse in his apartment, but Hartley is fully willing to play along with this plan because of vague promises of opportunities for wealth and political advancement.

But wait! Can things get more complicated for our hapless senator? Why yes, they can! Two government dudes burst into Hartley’s apartment and announce that he’s now going to pretend to work for the mysterious evil guy while secretly actually working for them! Pow!

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Yeah, it’s not actually all that exciting. At this stage of the book the story mainly involves random, vaguely connected incidents without much of an over-arching narrative. We know Sophisticated European Skorzeny is pulling the strings behind all of this, but we don’t know why, so none of the villain’s actions seem to make much sense.

Next chapter, Devlin discovers that someone has infiltrated his spy house and deploys yet more bullshit security technology to investigate before re-entering the building.

He had no idea who they were, but it almost didn’t matter: two makes in two days was double-plus ungood.

Walsh really seems to like referencing 1984, possibly to lampshade the way his awesome super-spies can casually violate anyone’s privacy at will.

Devlin charges inside and shoots two of the intruders in the head, then disables the other one with the nerve gas that comes out of his smoke alarms (really). It turns out she’s a woman!

There was political correctness for you—putting a woman on a clean team.

Yeah man women shouldn’t be on “clean teams”, whatever the fuck those are. Because…. I don’t know, just because I guess.

Somebody’s daughter for sure; somebody’s sister, very likely; maybe even somebody’s mother.

Hey, how did Devlin react when he shot a dude in the head like five seconds ago?

he cared not at all whether he had a family. Everybody had a family, except for him.

Isn’t it interesting how men have families (pfft not important) whereas women are family members (dear god think of the children).

Anyway Devlin incapacitates her by shooting her in both legs and arms, because as we all know human limbs are filled with Styrofoam and pose no danger of lethal blood loss. It turns out her and the two dudes Devlin murdered on his way in are FBI agents come to arrest him. Is it standard FBI protocol for FBI agents to sneak into someone’s house and wait for them in there? That seems like it would lead to awkward situations like getting shot by a vigilante with a stupid code name.

“Terrorism,” she whispered.

“I confess. Who ratted me out?” She smiled at him, grateful.

“That’s classified,” she said, and died.

I don’t know why I find the “and died” so hilarious. it makes it sound like she goes from being able to speak to dead in the space of a split second.

Devlin figures that someone is trying to frame him for the exploding school by hacking into his NSA file (I don’t really get how these two things are connected- did they add “btw this guy totally did a terrorism” to his employee record or something) and guesses that it was Hartley, also based on shaky logic. But we know he’s right, since Hartley was forced by the mysterious assailant to hack into something.

There might be a connection elsewhere. And if there was, then everything was a lie—the law, the Congress, the president, the whole damn United States of America.

THE WHOLE DAMN SYSTEM’S OUT OF ORDER

Devlin tries calling Danny up, but he doesn’t answer because he’s out having wholesome white-picket fun times with his family.

He wondered what it felt like to have a little girl. To have a creature he could unconditionally love, and who would love him back because she didn’t know any better,

I think you may be confusing Eddie’s daughter with a puppy. They are not in fact the same thing.

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9 thoughts on “Let’s Read Hostile Intent ch. 28-31

  1. Pingback: Let’s Read Hostile Intend ch. 32-35 | Doing In The Wizard

  2. Reveen

    Y’know, I’ve never really seen a right wing author come down on the side of what the fuck in terms of gender like this. A lot of other writers atleast seem to have an appreciation for the idea of female cops of soldiers as a concession or a sort of pervy “one of the boys” fantasy sidekick to the hero or some such. Like, the fascination with women soldiers in the IDF for example.

    I guess it’s because most of the conservative writers I know of aren’t flat out fucking Evangelicals.

    Reply
    1. andrea harris

      A lot of this set of people–neo-conservative, over-the-top rightwingier than thou, but with a touch more Ayn Rand than you’d expect to find in a Southern Baptist congregation, just seem to be bad human beings. Not bad in the sense of “evil” so much as badly put-together, like those dolls that just don’t make it so they end up in the dollar store bargain bin. Or they’re like people who’ve tried to operate on themselves (instead of trusting strangers, who might after all have the wrong beliefs), and end up removing a couple of limbs and some vital organs. Only somehow surviving and making it to the top. Sometimes I feel like I live in mirror world, and even William F. Buckley, who wasn’t all that great, would feel completely alienated from this mess.

      Reply
  3. braak

    I think that if putting a woman on the Clean Team makes a guy think about her family, and therefore maybe more hesitant to kill her, doesn’t it actually move from the PC-zone of “put chicks on things to stop their complaining” to the “actually this is an effective strategy”?

    Also, how did he not know they were FBI agents, FBI agents wear jackets that say FBI on them so they know not to shoot each other.

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Let’s Read Hostile Intent ch. 24-27 | Doing In The Wizard

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