A debut thriller about a University of Arizona undergrad whose meticulously planned future is put in jeopardy when a mysterious con man begins blackmailing him.
Just weeks away from graduating with a perfect GPA and going to the prestigious law school of his choice, Mitch Prudene has worked hard to be where he is. But his carefully plotted existence is turned upside down when an egomaniacal university basketball player accosts his girlfriend in a crowded bar and then, later in the parking lot, provokes Prudene into a fight. The end result is a badly beaten-up star athlete and police searching for the assailant. After barely escaping the police that night, Prudene wants nothing more than to forget the incident. But when a man who calls himself Ace Nagle approaches him in the library with intimate knowledge—and evidence—of Prudene’s crime, he is forced to participate in a dangerous game of extortion. It begins with Nagle manipulating the college student into committing petty crimes but quickly escalates—Prudene soon finds himself hopelessly caught in a destructive trap that he cannot escape. The impressively multilayered storyline is laden with numerous plot twists. The pacing is brisk, the characters well-developed, and the action fast and furious, particularly toward the end of the novel. At points, though, Prudene—who, by all indications, seems highly intelligent and a devoted student of law—seems too easily manipulated and a bit naïve. The incident at the bar, for example, was witnessed by countless people, and Prudene was in no way the aggressor. That said, readers who enjoy novels by Jeff Abbott, Steve Hamilton and Brett Battles will find Kargman’s first novel to be thoroughly enjoyable.
Suffers from minor flaws, but the nonstop action and palpable psychological tension make for an edge-of-your-seat read.