Former Green Beret Kris Klug scours Mexico for his kidnapped wife while dodging bullets from men who want him dead in Biskeborn’s (Mojave Winds, 2013, etc.) latest thriller.
A hit on a man named Klug seems like a straightforward task for gangsters Otto and Metz, but the fresh-out-of-prison duo complicates things right away. When they realize Klug’s not at home, they grab his wife, Sheila, hoping to avoid cops by calling Klug and luring him to Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Klug later learns that there’s an arrest warrant out for him, with authorities assuming that his ransacked house and missing wife indicate domestic violence. Tijuana journalist Lydia Carco, meanwhile, offers (via phone) intelligence in exchange for an interview and suggests that human traffickers have Sheila. But someone put out that contract on Klug, and he has no idea who. He faces off against cartel members and spots an old enemy, mercenary group PeaceMaker, who may have been behind his fishy court martial years back. Soon the CIA joins the mix and brands Klug a terrorist. Klug eventually teams up with Lydia, but not before evading assassination attempts and leaving behind “a trail of corpses.” The two head to Peru to find a CIA agent whose secret documents may reveal the mastermind(s) trying to kill Klug. Biskeborn drops readers into an action-laden story, in which Sheila’s abduction happens almost immediately. Klug, a tough, undaunted protagonist, more than holds his own, whether tracking down baddies’ hideouts or engaging in recurring skirmishes. The narrative is a step up from the author’s debut, with sharper, more precise prose. Klug, for example, awakens in a decrepit motel, the “sunlight leak[ing] in through the ragged blinds, splitting his room into slices of shadows.” Sheila, unfortunately, barely registers; with no perspective and few appearances, she comes across as more of a plot point than a character. Biskeborn saves most of the answers—like why someone has marked Klug for death—until the end. Nevertheless, there’s disappointingly little resolution, regarding both the hit and search for Sheila, and no clear setup for a potential sequel.
A story that gleefully speeds through gunfights and fisticuffs, but lacks closure.