Monday, July 18, 2011


by Jeff Abbott

The title of this book pretty much sets the pace for this action packed thriller. Within it pages are all the best aspects of a very enjoyable good versus evil plot: intrigue, spies, double crosses, foreign locales, technology used for nefarious purposes, a good hearted hero, and the obligatory nasty bad guys.

CIA agent Sam Capra barely escapes a bombing in one of the Company's London offices, saved by a telephone call from his pregnant wife, who immediately goes missing. Capra then endures months of interrogation, a destruction of his reputation, and is reduced to a bartending job, watched over by a suspicious Agency. Knowing he's bait for the real bad guys, he promptly escapes his handlers. Before he can even begin to seriously search for his missing wife and newly born child, he is recruited by a shadowy organization to help recover a kidnapped industrialist's daughter.

I like the concept because it shows a dark side of government, bad guys intent on ruling the world, and secret organizations in the shadows with power at their fingertips. The story also brings in technology in the form of DNA weapons. (You'll have to read the story for details.) There is a little bit of Robert Ludlum floating throughout with Capra as a lone spy using his skills against a James Bond type nemesis, with bad guys around each corner and in every city. This is a very enjoyable plot very easy to understand.

Sam Capra: CIA agent viewed by his agency as either a traitor or a fool. His skills include parkour, which is a trendy new activity that includes a lot of jumping, agility, balance, strength, and risk. He uses these and other skills in his battles against the enemy. He's determined, intelligent, and knowledgeable. He is loyal to people until he finds evidence destroying the loyalty. He is loving and caring and only wants to return to a good life with his wife, new baby, and his job of rooting out the bad guys.

Edward: The typical bad guy. Narcissistic, self serving, ruthless, evil. He uses people until they have served their purpose. He utilizes terror and abuse like a master chef in his kitchen. He's intelligent and conniving and you shudder during his scenes wondering what nasty thing he'll do next.

Howell: Capra's interrogator during the beginning chapters, who tries to rein him in during the rest of the story. Even from the beginning you don't like him even though he tries to come across as friendly and only wanting to help. Slowly, throughout the story, his true self is revealed.

Mila: You don't discover too much about her. She's very veiled. She presents herself as a 'take me or leave me and good luck with your life' type of person. You find out she has a soul but does hesitate when dealing her brand of justice.

Very well written, slight humor in places, doesn't drag on with long soliloquies or dreary longwinded conversations. Foul language is kept to a minimum.

The chapters aren't too long and the action keeps you moving through the story. It doesn't drag. Sentence structure is basic but intelligent. There is enough description to bring you into the scene but not too much you are distracted by extraneous material. The technology is easy to understand, the action is precise, concise, and true. The violence is not graphically presented, but there is enough detail for you to cringe in fear for the innocent and feel satisfied with the deaths of the guilty. My ARC was 400 pages, but it didn't seem like a lengthy story. The ending set up a sequel should Abbott decide to continue Capra's adventure. I was a little disheartened by the story not having a closed door at the end, but like I said, another story could relieve the ache.

My ranking:

Brown Belt

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