In Brogan’s (Kentucky Woman, 2016, etc.) thriller, U.S. agencies are on the trail of a kidnapped scientist, a potential indication that someone wants to use her skills to develop a weapon.
When men grab scientist Nell Northam from a Manhattan street and force her into a van, Director of National Intelligence Michael Madigan puts Donovan Rourke on the case. Donovan, the CIA’s special adviser on terrorism, doesn’t generally handle abductions, but this one’s at the request of the president—Nell’s first cousin. There’s also the possibility that her kidnappers are after her expertise in biological and chemical weaponry. Indeed, the men and their leader, Hasham, holding Nell want her to combine a fatal substance she recognizes with another she doesn’t. They coerce her cooperation by threatening both her husband, Jacob, and daughter, Mia. As Donovan, with assistance from the FBI and the National Security Agency, races to find the missing scientist, Nell tries to determine Hasham’s method of administering the weapon to the American public. If she can escape, she may somehow warn authorities and prevent a strike that will conceivably kill thousands. But just when Donovan believes he can stop the terrorists, their plan takes an unexpected turn. Brogan generates an impressive amount of suspense by simplifying his narrative. Much of it, for example, portrays the rigorous search for Nell as well as her perspective in captivity. Similarly, short chapters accommodate brisk scenes, and even comic asides don’t decelerate the story. The same holds true for dialogue. The mystery (what is the delivery system for the chemical weapon?) adds to the enjoyment as does an action-laden finale.
Bare-bones in the best way; a thoroughly tense and rousing tale.