by B. Kent Anderson
Ann Tolman: Deputy Director of Research and Investigations. Nick Journey: history professor. Tolman learns of a friend’s death in Wilmington and an enigmatic phrase ‘the rose and the silver cross’. Teaming up with Journey, they proceed to unravel a mystery concerning a Confederate spy and a deal with Napoleon III to obtains troops and materiel. However, there are other players in the game, including an assassin trying to avenge herself of her employers’ double cross. Who’s scamming who? How does a terrorist group blowing up federal buildings around the country fit into the scheme? It’s a complex puzzle and if Tolman and Journey don’t find the answers, more people are going to die.
This is not your usual straight forward good vs. evil adventure story. I love these types of books but found this one even better than expected because of the political shenanigans and the infighting from the bad guys. Plus, there’s fact mixed in with fiction which is always a winner.
Nick Allan Journey: 43, history professor at South Central College in Oklahoma, overweight, high blood pressure, was a minor league baseball star, has a 13 year old autistic son, drives an old silver minivan, parents and siblings killed in a car accident when Nick was 7, divorced, has a Ph.d
Margaret ‘Meg’ Isabel Tolman: deputy director of Research and Investigations, part-time concert pianist, short blonde hair, short, ice blue eyes, graduated from the Curtis Institute, mother died in car accident when Meg was 16, father works for the Secret Service, owns a cat, attended the Federal law Enforcement Academy
Ann Gray: forties, freelance assassin, married with a 13 year old son, tall, shoulder length brown hair
Victor Zale: member of The Associates, came from Georgia, missing three fingers on his right hand, gray buzz cut hair, served in Vietnam, licensed pilot
I like these characters. Each has a unique personality and that personality fits with the job they’re doing and the actions they take. More characters are introduced as he story moves along and that’s okay because Anderson seems to be able to fit them all in very nicely. The ‘bad guys’ of Zale and Gray are an interesting pair in that Gray has killed but in this tale has morals that when she’s screwed over, she’s not going to sit by and do nothing. Zale doesn’t mind a few innocents dying to stay on the ‘right’ path.
Informative. Not too much distraction from the main plot, just enough to include personal issues. The lectures aren’t long but make the point. Pretty distinctive voices.
Some profanity. A fast read. Chapters differ in length. Action is graphically detailed and lacks a little ‘punch’ (no pun intended). Sometimes Anderson uses unnecessary words. For instance, after a tag line he’ll use the pronoun ‘she’ three times when the reader knows the reference. Descriptions of settings are fine and I had pretty good imagery of the scenes.