DARK WATERS by Chris Goff


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An American diplomat, an Israeli agent, and a radical group fight to control the flow of critical and deadly information in Goff’s first thriller.

Ben Taylor, a U.S. federal judge, has brought his daughter, Lucy, to Israel for alternative treatment of a potentially life-threatening disease, but he and Lucy unwittingly become embroiled in a murderous plot when they witness a killing in a nearby square. That brings Batya Ganani, a deadly Israeli agent, and her boss, the shadowy Col. Ilya Brodsky, into the picture. Also in on the action is Raisa Jordan, an officer with the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service. Jordan has been assigned to protect the judge and his daughter, but it’s difficult because the judge isn’t very cooperative. And an impending visit from the U.S. secretary of state means resources are spread thin. So, when Alena, the Russian woman treating Lucy, is kidnapped by some would-be terrorists, Jordan is forced into an uneasy partnership with Ganani. Goff’s style is spare and slightly dry, but she does an admirable job of highlighting the struggle between Arab and Israeli factions in that part of the world, as well as shedding light on some of the little-known—at least by most Westerners—cultural issues they face. But much of the plot turns on coincidence, and readers will be hard-pressed to believe that Jordan’s long-ago childhood in Russia could figure in as a critical piece of the modern-day puzzle with which she’s dealing. In addition, when it comes to firearms and defensive tactics, the book lacks credibility. When Jordan slips into a hiked-up pencil skirt and fashions a makeshift thigh holster for her nearly 3 pound gun out of a belt she wraps around her thigh, then repeatedly draws, fires, and holsters that same weapon, readers knowledgeable about weapons—and pencil skirts—will most likely find themselves rolling their eyes.

A story in need of better research, fewer coincidences, and a more definitive ending.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-62953-192-2
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Crooked Lane
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2015


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