The Fallen, Mark Terry, Oceanview, $25.95.
This is a straight up, no holds barred thriller, the 3rd in a series featuring Dr. Derek Stillwater. Stillwater is undercover in this one, totally off the grid as most everyone thinks he's dead. He's working as a janitor at the swanky resort where the G8 summit is about to be held. As you might imagine, security is very tight, but as the book kicks off, it's breached in a major way. Terry is able to grab your attention immediately by telling the opening through the lens of a National Guardsman on sniper duty on the route into the G8 resort. He's quickly killed, which both ramps up the action, and makes you care much more about what follows.
This book is pretty much non-stop action from beginning to end, and it reminded me a little bit of the old movie The Poseidon Adventure, in that the main characters are presented with an almost unbeatable horrible situation, and must rise to the occasion. This isn't a cut, because I liked that movie, and this book offers the same type of old fashioned, seat of your pants entertainment value. When the G8 leaders are taken hostage by the terrorists who call themselves "The Fallen Angels" and strapped up with suicide bomb vests, the situation really can't get much worse. As one of the hostages says in a desperate text out to the State Department, there are lots of "BG"s (bad guys).
Derek is a terrific and interesting hero—not only do lots of people think he's dead, but some of them aren't even sure which side he's on, as he knew and worked with the leader of the Fallen Angels, Richard Coffee, at one point. As the reader has the insider knowledge that Stillwater is one of the good guys, it merely adds to the suspense and tension. Will Stillwater be shot or injured by one of his own people? Helping him out through the story are a hotel waitress, Maria, and Irina, a Russian agent, who, like Derek, must prove herself to be one of the good guys. Coffee has turned lots of insiders his way, giving him an edge.
The twisty action sequences take Derek through the underbelly (or over belly) of the hotel, much of the action taking place in air ducts and elevator shafts. He's able to pick off one terrorist after another, evening the odds as he waits an excruciatingly long time for back-up. I hated reading about the destruction to the building (but I am a business owner, mentally tallying expenses!)—but I was totally along with Derek on his thriller of a ride.
Please note: this book will be specially available for Mr. Terry's appearance at the store March 20, 2010, though the official release date is April 5.
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