St. Martin’s, Oct 2009, $24.99
American actor John Smith is in Istanbul to persuade his former girlfriend to drop the rich Turk and return to him. His endeavor has nothing to do with love and romance, as he has other motives, but his efforts lead to her murder and he joins the French Foreign legion. French-Canadian Evariste Pinard is given the choice between a long jail sentence for drug dealing and mob enforcement or joining the French Foreign Legion; he voluntarily enlists. French aristocrat Colonel Philippe de Noyer looks forward to turning the dregs of society like Smith and Pinard into a powerful fighting force.
In Western Sahara, the self-proclaimed prophet Al-Bab leads a rebellion with his bee stinging Marabouts attacking a legion outpost. He captures the American comedic-musical performer and the Quebec Russian Mafiosi among others. Whereas Morocco and Saharoui Arab Democratic Republic leaders yawn with the latest Imam allegedly rising in the desert, the Legionnaire officers take the Marabouts’ attack personally and send madman Pinard to lead the counter insurgency with instructions to rescue the legionnaire prisoners at any cost.
This is an extremely dark comedic thriller that takes the “values” of the nineteenth century French Foreign Legion and brings them forward to the twenty-first century while ignoring much of what occurred since WW II. The story line is bloody, gory, and bloody with many heads rolling, literally. This is not for the squeamish. Readers who relish an exceedingly over the top of an unnamed Moroccan plateau, bleak with no beau gesture of redemption, will want to read this satire of the West still intruding in Islamic African politics.Harriet Klausner
Scribner, Mar 2010, $26.00
Three years ago Triona Hallet was murdered in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The police never solved the homicide. Now Triona’s sister, forensic archaeologist Dr. Nora Galvin comes home after spending two years in Ireland working cases (see Haunted Ground and Lake of Sorrows) and loving Cormac Maguire, who is in Donegal spending time with his father who deserted the family when he was a child.
Nora is positive that her brother-in-law Peter killed his wife by smashing her face in before stuffing her in her car trunk. Neither her parents nor the local cops believe sly slick Peter would kill his wife as everyone insists he loved her. Nora’s former lover and police detective is the only who believes her, but has no evidence linking Peter to Triona’s murder. While Cormac investigates a reported half Selkie human, Nora finds the corpse of who appears to be a missing female member of the Twin Cities Rowing Club in a shallow grave. The case is eerily similar to that of Triona as both had the seeds of the false mermaid plant. Nora thinks if her former lover connects the second woman to Peter she has the chance to reopen the closed case; but she fears time is running out as Peter is remarrying.
Although mostly in Minnesota, this terrific cross Atlantic investigative tale is a fast-paced must read for fans due to predominantly Nora, but also Cormac. Redemption and vengeance are the twin engines that propel the action in the States as Nora is on a vendetta that turns to desperation to protect a mother and daughter from the man she believes is a killer. Readers will enjoy False Mermaid as Erin Hart is at the top of her game with this homecoming. Harriet Klausner
Whisper of the Seventh Thunder
Sons of Liberty, Mar 1 2010, $17.00
Over two thousand years ago on the Island of Patmos where John the Divine was exiled, the Angel of the Seven Thunders showed him visions that he was unable to write down. In the present, Gabriel Stone stood in the cave where John saw the angelic vision and he knows what the Jesus disciple saw. In that cave, he meets his wife and upon her death, Gabriel writes down the vision.
Writing the book in nine weeks, Gabriel feels as if someone putting the words in his brain. He takes his book to an agent who sells it to a publisher, but before it can be published, the agent and the publisher are dead. Two groups who do not want his book released because they believe the theme is not for public consumption; they go after Gabriel. In Israel, a supercomputer with cryptology software breaks down the vision, which involves people and events leading to the rise of the Antichrist. Gabriel’s name is on the list of key players, but regardless of God’s master plan and his role or any sect’s religious dogma, his goal is to prevent the slaughter of the innocent.
This is a fascinating enthralling apocalyptic thriller that deftly blends Brown, Clancy and LaHaye-Jenkins. The hero is a courageous person mindful of Moses in his belief that a nonentity like him who rested from his first day on earth until he entered the cave could not be a key player in the Lord’s plan, but like the Exodus leader does his best to do the mission and overcome his doubts. However, it is the fundamentalist Brethren group who grip the reader as these devout believers need the Antichrist to take his throne as they insist that is God’s plan and if millions die in support of their belief; so be it as long as the end of days begins. Harriet Klausner