“I can help you find the man who killed your wife.”
- Book: The Patriot
- Location: Puerto Rico
- Author: Nick Thacker
Jake Parker sets a storming pace in this, his second adventure and hits the ground running, this time in the drug fuelled, gangland swamp, of a hot and sultry Puerto Rico.
This stand alone story got off to a strong start with that single opening line; the inevitable action packed plot kicked in and never let me out of its clutches for a second; the ending which looked as though it was going to tie things up nicely and did – almost, then threw in a totally unexpected curved ball, which will inevitably make me come back for more when book #3 comes along. Oh! and Jake almost broke the fourth of my rules for a good book ‘you can’t be dead’!
The chapters were short and punchy, no wasted words or sentiment for this investigator, as actions definitely speak louder. However, far from disrupting the flow of the story, these breaks only served to heighten the tension, so there was a little time to digest the powerful narrative and dialogue, as I tried to keep up with the pace of the fast moving action and ever changing landscape of events. Author Nick Thacker, also took me on a tumultuous, whistle-stop tour, of some of the less salubrious, definitely non-tourist districts of Puerto Rico, in a one-of-a-kind experience. Great for an armchair traveller such as myself!
Jake is despatched on his ‘consultative’ mission by an old friend in the US, however knowing how desperate Jake is to uncover some of the lesser known facts about Mel’s death, which might ultimately afford him an inner peace with himself, McDonnell sets him away with the codicil that “I can help you find the man who killed your wife”, thus setting the scene for this multi-layered and complex chain of events, where nothing and no one are what they at first appear to be, and are definitely not to be taken at face value. Double-cross and double-double-cross, come as naturally as breathing to people on both sides, who are used to living and surviving on the edge. This intense and textured storyline, so skilfully choreographed by an author totally at ease with his cast of characters and chain of events, has the air crackling with tension, full of sadness and even with a little glimpse of heart and humour, as and when each is required.
Gangland life, love and ultimately often death, is the very air that they breathe, for many on both the margins of this society and also inside the upper echelons of several of the country’s largest business corporations, so I just knew that the outcomes were not going to be good, especially when the very lives of a US population the drug companies are purportedly helping to save, are in fact going to be made much worse, as part of their internal struggles for success and domination. Some of the ‘B’ list characters are I suspect, deliberately kept in the shadows and are, by default, sketchy in detail. However all of the star cast is well defined and developed, albeit in a disparate, distant, and pretty much dislikeable way, making me totally unable to connect or invest in any of them )including the seductive Veronique), except for Jake of course! But I’m certain that is exactly what the author had in mind for me all along.
After first becoming acquainted with Jake during his first case Containment, I had high hopes that his broken heart might have begun the healing process, when he teamed up with Eliza to solve the crime and bring the perpetrators to justice. However, I obviously misjudged just how badly damaged and broken both of them were, as it seems as though rather than growing closer, they are now pulling away from each other, maybe in fear of that ultimate commitment, or maybe because Jake has yet to draw a tangible line under his marriage, which ended so finally and devastatingly. Puerto Rico offers Jake another bite at the happiness cherry, but can the resourceful and strong-willed, Veronique succeed where Eliza is failing, or is Jake still so far from opening up and finding closure after his wife’s death, that the divide is as yet, just far too wide to cross? More importantly, will the prevailing forces allow the relationship room to grow, or is the hand of fate going to deal Jake yet another body blow?
I suspect that this is going to be a series of quite prescriptive storylines, as befits the nature of the character, however Jake is such an easy person to invest in, that I don’t really mind that at all, as there is always that unexpected vital twist in the story that I never saw coming, with author Nick Thacker managing to toss in that one final explosive grenade, which will leave me wanting more and eagerly waiting to get back into Jake Parker’s dark, divisive world!
When all the current madness in the world is over, it would be great to see this series optioned for television or film, as the storylines lend themselves so well to that format.