TRAIL OF BLOOD by Barbara Blackburn


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In Blackburn’s thriller sequel Jess Conners (née Saunders) becomes the target of a terrorist cell that’s kidnapping members of Congress.

In 2012’s The Third Threat, Jess Saunders and Terrorist Network Task Force operative Blake Conners narrowly survived the wrath of terrorist leader Ali Salman. Now the newlyweds believe he’s behind the terrorists who are kidnapping members of Congress and demanding that Jess act as an intermediary. The task force is determined to track down the cell’s leadership, but soon discovers that a mole may be in its midst. Meanwhile, Jess finds herself drawn to Blake’s twin brother, Brad. This espionage thriller has an engaging kidnapping plot that gives the story a solid foundation, but the novel is more devoted to developing character relationships, such as that between Jess and Brad. Descriptions are sometimes a bit too marginal; for example, a mysterious character, Rayhan, is introduced after a long buildup with few details and little drama. There’s a vast array of characters in the story, but the author wisely keeps the emphasis on a select few—mostly Jess’ associates—and avoids cluttering up scenes and conversations involving multiple characters. The author inserts many references to the previous book, but there’s just enough context here for them to make sense to newcomers and not sidetrack the main plot. (Blackburn also sometimes teasingly refers to past events, such as why Jess’ ex-husband is her ex; “It’s a long story” is all readers get.) However, the briskly paced story—with a whopping 72 chapters—answers all its big questions before culminating in a cliffhanger.

A rousing sequel that manages to stand on its own.

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 2012
ISBN: 978-1478205067
Page count: 364pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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