A man is unknowingly set up as the fall guy for a presidential assassination in Jacobs’ fast-paced debut thriller.
Former baseball pitcher Denny Kinney, whose injury ended his promising career, hopes to find a better job than his current one as a bartender. When an opportunity to work for a government organization called the Special Intelligence Group comes his way, he gladly accepts. However, he disregards signs that something shady is afoot, as when an SIG man named Groark calls his interviewees from a pay phone; later, Denny is given false identification and told to claim an insurance company as his employer. After he’s assigned to provide backup to the Secret Service, the president is shot—and authorities are suddenly on Denny’s trail blaming him for the murder. The novel offers full-tilt suspense as well as some mystery, as not all of the assassination’s co-conspirators are immediately revealed. Denny seems to be in jeopardy from the beginning, and it may be hard for readers not to call Denny’s common sense into question—for example, most people would walk away from someone offering them a Glock in a bag at a diner at 2:30 a.m. But Denny more than redeems himself once he’s on the lam, and readers will likely be breathing sighs of relief when cop cars pass him, none the wiser. Despite the book’s speedy tempo, Jacobs also takes time to delve into a bad guy’s back story. Likewise, law enforcement characters, such as FBI Special Agent Jim Moran, are depicted as dedicated and intelligent—not simply Denny’s antagonists. The story features a solid female character in Denny’s girlfriend, Meesh, who believes in his innocence. Jacobs also playfully drops in bits of irony: Denny, who at one point notes deer hunting as a hobby, sees a doe in the woods right before he hears the sound of a chopper full of people hunting him.
A fine thriller, succinct when it needs to be and sizzling where it counts.