Taking place largely in Libya in 2011—just weeks after the assassination of Moammar Gadhafi—Tempest’s (Casino Excelsior, 2012, etc.) third financial mystery/thriller featuring forensic accountant Oliver Steele revolves around his mission to locate an illegitimate son of the slain leader.
Macau, the former Portuguese colony that’s now an autonomous territory of China, is one of the biggest gambling destinations in the world. Hassan, Gadhafi’s illegitimate son, is financing the construction of a massive casino there, one with the potential to be a huge moneymaker. But now, amid the turmoil of the Arab Spring, he has inexplicably disappeared, and without his continued backing, the development is doomed. With only weeks before the multimillion dollar project implodes, Steele must somehow track down a man who doesn’t want to be found. To complicate matters, Steele’s nemesis, Kathy Smith—the best friend of the wife of his biggest client—becomes interested in Steele’s search for Hassan, who is rumored to have amassed a fortune in ill-gotten funds. But Smith, believing she has found an ingenious way to locate Hassan, travels to Libya only to be kidnapped. Although Steele’s investigation into the layers of secrecy surrounding Hassan’s fortune is interesting, it’s not exactly thrilling. Nevertheless, Tempest ratchets up the intensity by interweaving storylines that include ruthless financiers, unethical bankers, revolutionaries and murderers. And while many of the supporting characters are flat, the author offsets this by focusing on relentless pacing, vivid descriptions of exotic locales, and generous helpings of action and adventure. Tonally, this series is very much comparable to Fleming’s Bond saga: relatively straightforward, adrenaline-fueled storylines in which—although the characters are involved in dangerous, high-stakes conflicts—there is still room for sequences of lighthearted humor and fun. The first sentence gives readers a clear indication of what’s in store: “Staccato gunfire crackled; a vivid flash lit up the night sky.”
Like 007 with a CPA card—who knew accounting could be so wild?