March 2010, The Story Plant
262 pages, Hardback
Suspense, terrorists, hunters & the hunted, Europe, gypsies, father-daughter bond, love, fear, survival, occasional very strong language, occasional strong romance, moderate violence gore (not that often)
Summary from The Story Plant
Pat Nolan, an American man, is summoned to Paris to claim the body of his estranged daughter Megan, who has committed suicide. The body, however, is not Megan’s and it becomes instantly clear to Pat that Megan staged this, that she is in serious trouble, and that she is calling to him for help. This sends Pat on an odyssey with Catherine Laurence, a beautiful but tormented Paris detective, that stretches across France and into the Czech Republic and that makes him the target of both the French police and a band of international terrorists.
Juxtaposed against this story is Megan’s story. A freelance journalist, Megan is in Morocco to do research when she meets Abdel Lahani, a Saudi businessman. They begin a torrid affair, a game Megan has played often and well in her adult life. But what she discovers about Lahani puts her in the center of a different kind of game, one with rules she can barely comprehend, and one that puts the lives of many—maybe even millions—at risk.
Mostly publicists only have to whisper the word 'thriller' and I'm there like a shot. Having read thrillers before that evolve around complicated family circumstances, I was eager to see how this one panned out. Pat's had a tough life, mostly abandoning his daughter because she survived and her mother didn't. Guilt can do strange things to you. The key point is that in the end, he's there for Meghan when she needs him the most. He places himself in a lot of danger to unravel the mystery surrounding her fake suicide. Authorities are after him - and yet one of their own helps him in his search, which proves invaluable. There are also distinctly evil and dangerous people after him and also after Meghan. Pat protects both Catherine, who he forms a relationship with, and also Meghan as much as he can. He's definitely putting right the errors of his past.
The past is what got Meghan into trouble. Her past has led her on the run. I really enjoyed how her story was mixed along with Pat's. Little by little I learned more of the truth, and it got more harrowing as the story went on. I could see why Meghan made the choices she did, even if I don't agree with her reasoning. There were several occasions where I was convinced she'd end up in deep trouble, but the people she befriends (and who aren't arrogant, evil people) help her out. Sometimes the help arrives too late, and that's when you'll need a tissue.
I actually worked out a few of the plot twists way before they happened, so it was fun to find out my suspicions were correct. Some parts of the story surprised, but this was mostly the smaller details. I definitely got swept away in the story, and was quite attached to the characters. I have to say that Lehandi is a real piece of work. He is arrogant, he abuses the power he has, he is up to no good. I wanted to do many things to him just for what he did to Meghan. To top it all he was a right moron and had me seething when upon offering Meghan marriage he said that Islam is restrictive for women! I know politics/religion/sport are the 3 taboo subjects because they are all subjective, but grah he's such a chauvanistic so-and-so. He's the type of Muslims who don't practice the equality of social position for both men and women (which doesn't necessarily mean they both do the same jobs), which seems to be the type who are suicide bombers. Nutcases, the lot of them! (Apologies - I can't stay quiet when it's a topic I feel strongly about.
A must read if you love danger mixed with family relations and extremely dangerous hunters.
Be sure to check out more about James's work on his website!
Pursuit of Honour by Vince Flynn, another thriller with Islamic terrorists, who thankfully are dimwitted compared to Lehandi.
The Truth of the Matter by Andrew Klavan, a fast paced thriller for younger (and older) readers.