A fast-paced political thriller set during the Reagan presidency.
In Minier’s debut page turner, Vietnam veteran Lt. Michael Page works a fairly routine job with the Santa Barbara Police Department until someone murders the American ambassador to Turkey. When Michael first became a cop over a decade ago, he was called to a hotel where two Turkish consuls were murdered. The connection to the recent event is not lost on him, and soon he receives notes from the unknown madman, threatening to assassinate more federal officials. Dubbed the Poet Killer for his foreboding notes sent to police, this terrorist, who signs his notes Antranik, delights in the morbid game he plays and seeks a place in history. Antranik looks to be retaliating against Turkey’s Armenian genocide of 1915. Persistent Michael tries to decipher Antranik’s poems to figure out where he plans to strike next so he can catch the assassin before more casualties occur. After another prominent figure falls victim, the stakes climb even higher. Even the president isn’t immune to the dangerous Antranik as the suspense rages on in this what-could-have-happened roller-coaster ride based on the actual assassination of two Turkish diplomats in 1973. As the manhunt continues, Antranik’s allegiances and reasons come into question, and his connection to the Russians causes panic among government officials who fear nuclear war. The investigation brings Michael to Lela Drew, a disappointingly one-dimensional love interest who is a graduate student of Armenian history. When romantic feelings develop between them, their lives become entangled, putting them both in danger. The characters are a bit clichéd and predictable, but they are appropriate in this cop drama. It is clear that Minier knows his characters and their world, effectively conveying their nuances, with the exception of Lela. Minier’s simple, engrossing style works well with a narrative rich with historical details. The author skillfully weaves a substantial web of deceit, murder and mystery.
A gripping ride-along with a small-town detective in the midst of a national security crisis.