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Having grown up in the foster system, Private Pike Morgan’s rough exterior and problem with authority earn him few friends among his fellow Marines. When he’s not on missions for the Marine Reserve, Pike’s rebellious attitude and eagerness for vigilante justice have the local police regularly at his doorstep. Struggling to set down roots, and nervous of his desire to, Pike’s eager to answer the military’s call for another deployment.

On a peacekeeping mission to Afghanistan, Pike and his squad soon find themselves entrenched in a heated war zone. After an American journalist is kidnapped by known terrorist Zalmai Yaqub, the whereabouts of this al Qaeda leader become a top priority for the American military. But when Yaqub flees to Pakistan, will anyone aid Pike in his hunt, or will this strong Marine find himself without an ally?

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“The only thing he’d ever believed in was himself, and he knew his limitations. He didn’t expect anything beyond what he would do for himself. That kept life simple,” is Pike’s mantra in Mel Odom’s second book in the “Called to Serve” series, Renegade. At three hundred and sixty-four pages, this paperback book has a photograph of an expressive, yelling Marine dressed for action with gun in hand on the front cover. Targeted toward young mature males, the book has military strategies, graphic descriptions of killings of wartime and gang incidences and violence. With no profanity, there are mild Christian doctrines and beliefs with some Muslim religious references. This reader wishes all pronouns of Deity were capitalized for reverence. Pike Morgan is only twenty-nine years old but has a colorful, checkered past that includes growing up in the foster care system, detained in juvenile hall, and mixing with drug-trafficking gangbangers, forcing him to be in the Witness Protection Program. Having done several deployments as a Marine reservist, he seeks any outlet he can to vent his anger, rage and frustration as he tries to figure out his life’s path that includes peace and protection. After playing vigilante to rid his Tulsa, Oklahoma neighborhood of drug dealings, local authority and the infamous Diablos gang are closing in on the rough, regimented man. Torn by nightmares and uncontrollable emotions of his foster care friend’s death, his attentiveness to a young neighborhood boy who he helps with school work and his employer, an automotive repair shop owner, Pike eagerly re-enlists in the Marines and is sent to Afghanistan on a peacekeeping mission. Meanwhile in Kandahar, Zalmai Yaqub is also learning life’s lessons as he tries to follow in his ailing father’s footsteps of terrorizing the United States from remote caves above the Afghan city by kidnapping three CIA agents and an American journalist while accumulating Russian weapons. Through ambushes, attacks and alliances with local authority, Yaqub becomes Pike’s personal target for his redemption. Will Pike realize his own vulnerability so he can overcome his past and move on to a better future? Will Yaqub accomplish his lifetime goal and his father’s wishes to be an al Qaeda leader? In this fast-paced modern fiction that contains a plethora of military verbiage, soldierly action and gruesome deaths, Odom’s ending leaves one wondering what will become of its lasting players in the future military books of the series. This book was furnished by Tyndale for review purposes.