Monday, June 25, 2018

Review: Evil In Disguise: Simon Pack Novel # 4

A few days ago I completed reading Evil In Disguise, the fourth Simon Pack novel by John M. Vermillion, and it's a work that I thoroughly enjoyed.

And just who is Simon Pack? A former Marine general, a onetime superintendent at West Point, and a one-term governor, by choice, of Montana. This is the fourth Pack novel by Vermillion, and it stands alone, which means that you don't have to read the other three first.

Although I may reach out to those books now.

What else about Pack? "Trouble found him or he found it," Vermillion, a West Point grad and a retired infantry colonel. says of his lead character.

An Amtrak accident in Idaho and a botched black ops action in Iraq, the second one happened years earlier, sets the plot in motion. From that last one comes a figure from Pack's past, Blaise Paschal, not the 17th-century mathematician with a similar name, but a calculating CIA-trained killer whose skills in disguise border on shape-shifting.

Tom Clancy's works came to mind as I paged through Evil In Disguise. Like Clancy's Jack Ryan, Pack has a stable of friends he can rely on regardless of how gets in trouble, they include his successor as governor, James Dahl, former Secretary of Defense Wilkie Buffer, Sheriff Joe Mollison, and his sidekick, Tetu Palaita, a mountain of a Samoan who calls Pack his "Matai," that is, chief. Pack has a girlfriend, Keeley Eliopoulous. Romance was never Clancy's long suit---Vermillion is much better at it here.

While Pack is a military man--but he uses his knowledge of the seven deadly sins as the basis of his strategy to confront Paschal.

As for the villain, he grew up in a trailer park that he called, The Rathole. Like Pack, he's a multi-dimensional character, one of his credos comes from Carmen Cozza, a longtime Yale football coach who died a few months ago. And I was impressed enough by this maxim to share it my boss, who read it word for word at our weekly sales meeting ten days ago.
If you are poor, WORK. If you are rich, WORK. If you are burdened with seemingly unfair responsibilities, WORK.

If  you are happy, continue to work. Idleness gives room for doubts and fears. If sorrow overwhelms you and loved ones seem not true, WORK. If disappointments come, WORK.

If faith falters and reason fails, just WORK. When dreams are shattered and hope seems dead--WORK. WORK as if you life were in peril, it really is.

No matter what ails; you, WORK. WORK faithfully, and WORK with faith. WORK IS THE GREATEST MATERIAL REMEDY AVAILABLE. WORK will cure both mental and physical difficulties.
Here's something else I like about Pack. He believes that Victor Davis Hanson, a writer I admire, is "one of the country's great men of letters."

Simon Pack is the type of person we need as governor of Illinois. But my corrupt Prairie State doesn't deserve an individual of his caliber.

Evil In Disguise is available at

1 comment:

Walt Gottesman said...

Great words on WORK from the late Coach Cozza. Thank you! This comment is a month late but I just read them this morning. Am putting them in my collection of inspiring and informative quotes.

Walt Gottesman 7/25/2018