Sunday, September 15, 2013

Summer’s Last Gasp – Beach Read Bonus Time

Jeff Abbott – Downfall  (Grand Central)

Brad Taylor – The Widow’s Strike: A Pike Logan Thriller (Dutton)

David Ellis – The Last Alibi (Putnam)

As the pigskin starts to fly and the sun sets a little earlier each day, the fall season looms large and summer wind’s down to its last gasp, there is still a chance to snag some quality beach read time with a set of ongoing, character driven thrillers.

Jeff Abbott roles out the latest in his Sam Capra series, Downfall that finds the former CIA operative turned high end bar owner continuing to try to balance fatherhood, business and working for the mysterious, shadowy group of rich powerbrokers known as the Round Table.

As usual Capra seems to find himself at a crossroads of either being in the wrong place at the wrong time or being in the right place at the right time, depending on your perspective. He ends up in the middle of high stakes action that gets rolling with a high profile PR executive who is a Mom caught squarely between a rock and a hard place. Capra is a great mix of highly trained operative and American Ninja Warrior contestant as he puts his high flying parkour, free running skills to use.

The action is always front and center, but doesn’t dominate the storyline’s steady drumbeat pacing.

Brad Taylor makes no makes no bones about the fact that his stories are character driven, putting his lead Pike Logan front and center in the title of his latest; The Widow’s Strike: A Pike Logan Thriller. Like all good thriller writers, Taylor puts the tinge of ripped from today’s headlines fear in the plot of his story.

With recent chatter about implantable bombs being developed by terrorists in an attempt to get them past screening devices; it certainly makes scary sense that someone might try to develop human bio-weapon bombs. Just imagine walking human delivery systems that could deposit their deadly strike with a simple cough or sneeze on public transport.

Imagine no further…because Taylor has already done the work for us. In the pursuit of a vaccine for a deadly strain of bird flu, a rogue pharmaceutical company discovers that inoculated women can survive the virus, but become carriers for the deadly strain. Despite mothballing the procedure, one deadly sample survived and the race is on to try to prevent a deadly plague from wrecking havoc.

David Ellis is one of a stable of author’s who work with the mega-bestselling machine known as James Patterson and he is back with another installment in the Jason Kolarich legal thriller series, The Last Alibi. Ellis once again display’s the masterful ability to deliver twists and turns in the plot with more than a few unexpected plot threads along the way.

A legal eagle who has worked both sides of the courtroom aisle, this time out Kolarich finds himself in the unexpected location of being in the defendants chair, accused of murder. Sure it’s a setup…the question becomes how does extract himself from this precarious perch. The answer will have you gripping the edge of your chosen seating arrangement for the end of summer.

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