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Jurado dishes up a violent conspiracy reaching all the way to the top in his latest thriller (The Traitor’s Emblem, 2011, etc.).

Jamaal Carter’s lucky: when the young gangbanger’s shot, he ends up in the hands of one of the country’s best surgeons. Dr. David Evans, a recent widower, single father, and neurosurgeon at the tony St. Clement’s Hospital, stubbornly goes against his boss and operates on the kid without permission. In a few days, Evans will be conducting a hush-hush operation on a top-secret patient, the incumbent president. Unknown to anyone outside his family and a handful of others, the president has developed a fatal brain tumor, and Evans is the White House’s choice to remove it. But Evans, whose wife, Rachel, committed suicide, has a problem he can’t overcome in that a strange and very evil man named White is blackmailing him. Unless the president dies during the operation, the doctor’s young daughter, Julia, will be killed. When Evans finds Julia’s nanny, Svetlana, dead and Julia is kidnapped, he looks for a way out of his dilemma. White has a way of monitoring his every move, so the enterprising doctor calls on the one person he knows can help him: Kate, a Secret Service agent who’s also his wife’s younger sister. White’s surrounded Evans with electronic equipment and developed a convoluted plan to perfect the murder, but rather than ratchet up the tension, the effect is more over-the-top than Tom Clancy. In addition to the often stilted prose, broken continuity, and exceedingly odd word choices, the story has its share of give-me-a-break moments, such as when White torments little Julia by unleashing a huge rat on her or when Evans ventures into dangerous and hostile gangbanger territory to secure a gun.

Short on plausibility with a conclusion that feels both rushed and tacked on, the plot piles one silly premise on top of the other until it topples under its own weight.

Pub Date: Aug. 11th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4767-6698-0
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Atria
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2015


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