A hotbed of deception, terrorism, and global intrigue fuels this debut thriller.
Inspired by the works of Scottish adventure writer Alistair MacLean, distinguished former music manager-turned-novelist Vallier admits that his book finds “parallels to much of its story in the real world.” His narrative opens with both a communications technology expert and a military sergeant stalked and killed in Berlin. Stella Fincrest, a young South African heiress to a family empire and the lover of former British army Special Forces agent Jim “JP” Peregrine, is kidnapped while the couple enjoys a romantic Caribbean holiday. At the center of these crimes is powerfully connected Islamic terrorist Barakah Malekka, a man with ties to the 9/11 attacks. He hopes to surpass that historic carnage with a meticulously calculated extremist mass murder plot to infiltrate a military research and development center in South Africa (where Stella is director), steal a Russian nuclear ballistic missile called Spider 2-3, and deploy it, killing millions in Israel. Meanwhile, JP, finding the disappearance of Stella alarming, and foreseeing this as just one piece of a larger nefarious scheme, joins forces with British intelligence agency MI6. Will Stella surrender the company’s security access information, setting in motion Malekka’s plan to steal the missile and destroy the facility? As intricately presented and unpredictable as the action is, Vallier is careful to fully develop his characters as well. He establishes both beneficial chemistry and enemy antagonism throughout, while JP uses his years as a resourceful intelligence agent to untangle a snarl of espionage efforts, blatant attempts on his life, and ambitious plans to stop Malekka’s mass annihilation scheme and rescue Stella, hopefully unharmed. Also adding texture are descriptions of the technological wizardry employed by both sides and exotic atmospheres that the author expertly depicts with both literal descriptions and evocative historical background, particularly on South Africa. This breathless, first-rate novel’s gripping, satisfying conclusion leaves plenty of room for sequels featuring JP, the “Falcon.”
A tense, complex, and cleverly plotted work of international suspense with more than enough heroic gusto for future promised installments.