A Memphis cop investigates the disappearance of a prominent biogenetics scientist in this thriller by Wise (The Black Silk Road, 2010).
In late 2001, Dr. Daniel Wyeth is close to producing a drug that offers immunity to anthrax—when he suddenly vanishes. In Memphis, homicide detective Will Howling, formerly of the U.S. Army’s Delta Force, probes Wyeth’s disappearance. He believes that Wyeth may have been a “jumper”—a suicide who leapt into the Mississippi River—but Wyeth’s twin adult children think otherwise. His son, Sam, is a Washington, D.C., attorney, and his daughter, Sara, works in Afghanistan alongside her fiance, Dr. Khaled Afaq, a British national born in Kabul. Soon, Khaled is abducted, taken to Bagram Prison and accused of terrorism—a convenient ruse that allows Sara’s sadistic ex-boyfriend, Jake Jackson, a military contractor with CID Group, to exact revenge. As the investigation proceeds, Sara and Will share an immediate, intense attraction. They go on a road trip along the Mississippi River; along the way, Sara bargains at a crossroads with a trickster named Legba in a “midnight trade” to obtain information about her father’s whereabouts—and to have the courage to rescue Khaled. This is an engaging, intelligent thriller with an uncompromising view of America, featuring government-supported torture, a bloated and largely fabricated “War on Terror,” and a deadly conspiracy. The Bagram Prison scenes are truly unsettling, with hooded prisoners undergoing potentially crippling beatings followed by testicular electric shocks. With skill and confidence, the author navigates a murky alphabet soup of American organizations and is equally at ease describing personal relationships and international affairs. Most terrifyingly, Wise shows how easily an innocent person can disappear while stateside bureaucrats in comfortable offices do little or nothing about it.
A plausible, disturbing thriller featuring torture, murder, big-business pharmaceuticals and other dirty tricks.