DEATH, DEATH, MORE DEATH AND LIES
The body count begins in the first sentence of this novel and does not let up until the closing of the book’s penultimate chapter. By my unofficial count, no less than 28 men die in a two-month time frame extending from the moment Lawrence Wyatt is murdered until the kingpin who ordered Wyatt’s death is himself dispatched.
Eight are killed by the kingpin’s associates, seven by Jock Algren, three by Logan Hamilton, two by a US military attaché, two accidentally by their own associates, and one by a US covert operative. Matt Royal himself takes out four-and-one-half people personally. To explain that “one-half” would constitute a major spoiler and is thus best left for the reader to explore, as it is a large part of Matt’s psychological dilemma in the book.
From the moment Wyatt’s murder is made known, the area locals are more inclined to talk to Matt than the police and several overheard and casually observed situations lead Royal to discover the killer’s identity in short order. Royal learns that the death was, in fact, a $10,000-contract killing. Before having to dispatch the hitman in an act of self-defense, Royal tortures the name of his contact from him. At this point, the story kicks into high gear as the author not only escalates the manhunt for the person ordering the hit but escalates the psychological ramifications from killing another human that were brought out in Royal by the events in the previous novel, Blood Island.
H. Terrell Griffin pens a tale this time that is much different from the previous three in the series. First, he uses well-placed flashbacks. These flashbacks take the reader back to a war-torn Europe of 1945 where we encounter the unnamed kingpin and his scheme that eventually leads to Wyatt’s death.
Secondly, Griffin crafts an intrigue that moves out of Florida. Matt Royal and his team find themselves trailing villains from Longboat Key to Boston to Frankfort. And the clues they unearth are related to events that stretch from the NYPD to Wall Street to the legislative branch of the federal government to Frankfort and Riyadh.
Thirdly, Griffin uses international terrorism as a plot line for the first time. In doing so, he weaves a conspiracy thread that spans at least 60 years and four continents.
And finally, he provides us with a vital history lesson. This is not a data dump, but a fictionalized accounting of the very real theft of assets from French Jews by the Nazis. The storyline goes on to detail the subsequent secreting of those assets as well as former Nazi officers and collaborators out of Europe during the chaos surrounding Germany’s surrender.
Throughout the book, the author uses various episodes to debate the issues involved with killing for self-defense and torturing another human being to extract information necessary for personal survival. But not once does he have his characters debate the issue of revenge. From the very first page, there is no doubt that Matt Royal and his Band of Brothers will exact Wyatt’s revenge or die trying.
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