The Panther Mountain Conspiracy by Dean Hosmer

The Panther Mountain Conspiracy

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In Hosmer’s debut thriller, American and Canadian law enforcement agents search for a physicist whose disappearance may be related to a weapons system he’s developing.

Lincoln Hawthorne is looking forward to a December weekend getaway at his grandfather Robert’s camp in New York. Sadly, after he arrives, he finds Robert dead with a pitchfork in his chest. Cops arrive at the scene, but the FBI quickly jumps on the case as well, as Robert was working for the U.S. Navy on a joint U.S.–Canada project involving a weapon of some sort. On closer inspection, however, it turns out that the body isn’t Robert’s at all but that of a different man wearing a latex mask. Security photos from the Naval Surface Warfare Center show the same person posing as Robert days ago, accompanied by a driver whom authorities identify as Aleksandr Yeschenko. The feds are soon convinced that Russians have taken the still-living Robert across the border into Canada. It turns out that they abducted the physicist in a ploy to trade him for the project prototype, which Canadian intelligence agent Mathieu Parise possesses. Both the U.S. and Canadian intelligence communities suspect that a mole in their midst is aiding the Russians, but the conspiracy actually goes much deeper than that. Hosmer’s short novel doesn’t dawdle, as Lincoln finds the corpse almost immediately, and it soon introduces a copious amount of characters, including officers from Canada, New York, and Virginia (Robert’s home state). The players occasionally lack distinctive personalities, but there’s definitely nuance in Lincoln’s budding relationship with FBI agent Allison Thiel. They share a bed but also go undercover together, with Allison posing as Lincoln’s wife during a precarious hostage exchange. Hosmer also gives the espionage some density; villains have varying motives, and Robert may have been developing something that even the Navy doesn’t know about. There’s danger and surprising discoveries all the way to the last few pages and a hint at the end that perhaps the story isn’t quite over.

A brisk but assertive tale, with plenty of spies, killers, and double-crossings to satiate readers.

Pub Date: Aug. 2nd, 2016
Publisher: Lulu
Program: Kirkus Indie
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