The Shadow Broker
A Mr. Finn Novel
CreateSpace, August 2014
This novel serves to introduce Finn Harding, who lost his PI license and is reduced to scrounging for a living, dealing with less than savory persons to make ends meet. He lives on a houseboat on the Ohio River in Cincinnati, has an ex-wife and six-year-old daughter. Obviously, this book is the beginning of a series. Finn supposedly specializes in finding people who don’t want to be found, since doing so doesn’t require a license from the state.
One such assignment comes from a man named Bishop who operates an internet site that offers purloined data illegally obtained by his criminal partners. It involves identifying a blackmailer, who is demanding $50,000 per month of Bishop to not disclose how he hacked into the site and is able to give the FBI all the background needed to prosecute. Finn is able to name the blackmailer, but as a result finds himself in a more complicated situation, facing possible death at the hands of his clients.
Finn is an interesting protagonist, resourceful, energetic and calculating, although less than an upright citizen as events turn out. He knows the difference between right and wrong, but circumstances make it hard to be ethical when you have to cut corners to survive. It will be interesting to see what develops in the next novel in the series, Scar Tissue.
Reviewed by Ted Feit, March 2015.
An Anna Pigeon Novel #18
St. Martin’s Paperbacks, February 2015
Mass Market Paperback
Novels in the Anna Pigeon series usually take place in national parks featuring the wilderness as she grapples with the likes of forest fires and the like. This time, as she braves a Minnesota forest, it is four gunmen who have kidnapped two friends and their daughters while she was out canoeing, thus missing out on the party at the beginning: The five women originally planned to enjoy a long weekend camping at a park ranger site.
Thus begins a long trek of undue hardship as the captives are forced to travel toward a landing strip miles away where the kidnappers hoped to be picked up by a plane to wait for the eventual payoff. Instead, as they slowly head to their destination, trailed by Anna whose purpose obviously is somehow to rescue her friends, the reader is treated to a gruesome blow-by-blow account of the rough treatment the women receive and lessons in how to survive in the wilderness, courtesy of Anna the park ranger, as well as how to stalk prey.
The descriptions are graphic and powerful, brutal and mesmerizing. Unfortunately, from time to time, the author interjects opinions on a variety of side issues which detract from the forward thrust of the plot. Otherwise, this is a forceful tale, and is recommended.
Reviewed by Ted Feit, January 2015.