Author: Jonathon King
Publisher: Open Road Media
Rating: 3 stars
Buy Links: Amazon
Received from Publisher
Blurb: When a pregnant federal judge is abducted, Max Freeman pursues an eccentric gang deep into a hidden world he knows better than most: the shadowy waterways of the Florida Everglades
US district judge Diane Manchester has looked across the courtroom into the eyes of evil before. But today, as she presides over the extradition hearing of a notorious Colombian drug lord, she is also eight months pregnant. Her chair is uncomfortable, her robe is constrictive, and her due date is fast approaching. If she shows a single sign of weakness, Diane risks jeopardizing the biggest trial of her career and setting a vicious murderer free.
In seconds, her situation takes a harrowing turn for the worse. Walking to her favorite lunch spot, Diane is grabbed off the street, thrown into the back of a white van, blindfolded, and threatened with death. She has no idea who her kidnappers are or what they want. Maintaining a strict code of silence, they refuse to give her even the smallest glimmer of hope.
But Diane’s captors have overlooked a crucial detail: Her husband, Billy, is the employer and best friend of Max Freeman, Philadelphia cop turned South Florida private investigator. Tossing off the rule of law, Freeman sets out to determine which of a rogues’ gallery of suspects took Diane—and to save her and her unborn child before it’s too late.
Review: This book is a perfect example of a beautifully written, flawlessly edited effort by an obviously talented and successful author trying to force a weak story into submission. And the story is weak, in my opinion.
The main character, Max Freeman, and most of the secondary characters are strong and well developed. Max is a likable guy, smart and loyal to his friends. One of his friends is Diane Manchester, the kidnapped judge. Diane and her husband, Billy, are expecting a baby. Billy is a brilliant lawyer and financial planner for some of the most powerful people in this country and others, and he’s Max’s best friend and employer. Billy is black and Diane is white. I’m sure the backstory of this wonderful bi-racial couple in a previous book in the series is a great read; I liked them both. And I liked Sherry, Max’s girlfriend who lost her right leg in a previous book, but has never lost her drive as a detective with the Broward Sheriff’s Office and more importantly, she has never lost the love and devotion of Max. They are a great group.
Now I’ll tell you what I didn’t like. Everything else! The middle half or so of this book was so boring that I kept falling asleep. Honestly, I have given 5 star reviews to books that weren’t nearly as well written and constructed as this one because I was still wide awake at 4 in the morning, flipping pages as fast as I could read them because the story was just that compelling. Not this one. I stopped reading completely several times and dreaded getting back to it. Why? It was obvious to me from very early in the book that they were following the wrong leads. As a lover of mysteries, I have always tried to figure them out before the end of the book…sometimes successfully, sometimes not. This one was so easy to figure out that the surprise ending, the twist, wasn’t a surprise at all. Bummer. Just a long drawn out series of knowing they were on the wrong path and waiting endlessly for them to catch up with me. And, while I normally love books that give multiple points of view, the view point of the kidnapper elicited no sympathetic reaction from me, and while I should have been interested in Diane’s point of view, she got boring, too. Even Max, who I liked a lot, got boring with his constant reminders that “real life” cases aren’t solved as quickly as television or movies.
If you are a reader who can enjoy a book on the strength of writing skills, you might really like this one. There are some beautiful passages about the landscape and skies of southern Florida that would be worthy of the best travelogues. However, if it takes a well constructed mystery to keep your attention, you might want to skip this one. It fell short for me…into drudgery.