"Will leave you breathless." (Harlan Coben)
"When you pick up a Gilstrap novel, one thing is always true - you are going to be entertained at a high rate of speed." (Suspense Magazine)
It begins with a shocking act of vengeance. Barista Ethan Falk chases a customer into the parking lot and kills him. He tells police that years ago, the older man abducted and tortured him. Then Ethan's story takes an even stranger turn: He says he was rescued by a guy named Scorpion. Of course there is no record of either the kidnapping or the rescue, because Scorpion - Jonathan Grave - operates outside the law and leaves no evidence.
As Grave struggles to find a way to defend his former precious cargo without blowing his cover, he learns the dead man has secrets that trace to an ongoing terrorist plot against the heart of America. It's up to Grave and his team to stop it. But first they must rescue Ethan Falk - a second time.
"If you like Vince Flynn and Brad Thor, you'll love John Gilstrap." (Gayle Lynds)
"Gilstrap pushes every thriller button." (San Francisco Chronicle)
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Hint: Play at 1.2x speed
The story was "OK to good" on the scale of interesting, but maybe slightly tainted by a hint (I think) of ideology about guns and cops. But assuming it is there, it is not to the point of ruining the book. What did initially start to turn me off was the readers odd cadence and lingering inflection. I decided to use the Audible Apps Playback Speed adjustment and found that by moving it to a slightly faster speed of 1.2x, the narration and dialogue became much smoother and more pleasant to the ear.
As for the story, it was an interesting plot line and one very different from the common thread. It is especially interesting to the extent it explores a VERY uncomfortable topic: Child abduction and rape. If that can be made more uncomfortable, it might only be possible by making the rapist male and the child an 11-year old prepubescent boy. No one (normal) finds anything about rape or child molestation comfortable, but I think our Western Society stills carries just a little extra angst with the discussion if the victim is a boy. But again, that is my take, nothing empirical. So back to the story, a boy of 11 is kidnapped and raped for 8 days before being rescued by 2 heroes whom he never knows the identity of or the exact way by which they came to recover him. Jump ahead 11 years and the boy, now a young man struggling with life sees who he believes is his former captor and in a blind fit, kills the man in public. He is then left trying to convince the prosecutors and the world that this "man" was a child rapist and kidnapper. Enter the former heroes that rescued Ethan 11 years before that discover Ethan has indeed killed the correct pervert, but they can not come forward because of their own criminal acts in saving Ethan and others like him. As a last plot twist, it comes to light that the dead perv has had his entire history erased, the police can not find out who he is, and the intelligence community speculates he may be associated with middle eastern terrorists intent on kidnapping government leaders and their families.
I guess my only quibble with the story is what felt like an abrupt ending. While all of the loose ends were tied up and nothing seemed to be left hanging, it just seemed to be THE END. Think of an author writing in great detail every little description then getting tired of writing, realizing that his publishers advance deadline is looming, so he just says the hell with it and in a few pages, solves all of the mystery and conflict.
Short answer good book and certainly makes you think a little deeper into the scourge of child abuse, rape, and human trafficking. No great surprise or mystery but worth the listen. Just remember ...1.2X.
You have to get past narration