Christian-pleasing epic of conspiracy and war.

The Flight of the Mayday Squadron


From the The Mayday Trilogy series , Vol. 1

Madison offers an alternate history of the Vietnam War in this debut Christian thriller.

Drawing heavily from conspiracies related to the New World Order, Madison serves up a novel of war and intrigue on an epic scale. After learning that the string of the American government are being pulled by Medusa—a shadowy organization best described as “a diaphanous horror-hybrid of technology, economics, psychology, politics, and religion”—the reader is introduced to David Rixon, a West Texas orphan raised by the Christian and kind Gonzales family. Rixon grows up to serve the U.S. military in Vietnam, where he commands the counterintelligence “Omega” outpost. Working to protect the people of South Vietnam from the ravages of the Communist north, Rixon discovers a more insidious enemy at work in the war, this one based inside his own government. With the help of his stateside father, Jose Gonzales, Rixon uncovers a conspiracy centuries in the making, one involved in such earth-shattering events as the rise of Hitler and the Kennedy assassination. As if a powerful shadow order weren’t enough to contend with on its own, evidence leads Rixon to suspect that hidden behind the enemy is an even worse evil. The worst evil, in fact: the sworn enemy of the God in whom Rixon was raised to believe. Madison is a highly effective storyteller, masterfully tempting readers forward from one revelation to the next. Even so, the dogmatic plot and its politics often prevent total immersion. Like much conspiracy literature, the book has a decidedly libertarian bent, highly suspicious of elites, banks, and governments. The novel’s defining quality, however, is its overt and fundamental Christianity. It is this religiosity that contributes to the novel’s ultimate tedium, reliant, as it is, on that religion’s well-trodden eschatology. The end is predictably apocalyptic: higher powers intervene, cosmic battles are waged, and a small group of believers finds deliverance through the power of prayer. Devout readers may find the premise exciting, but the more secular will likely find this novel to be preachy and overly reliant on (literal) deus ex machina. Two more works in a planned trilogy will follow.

Christian-pleasing epic of conspiracy and war.

Pub Date: July 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4935-2839-4

Page Count: 596

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2015

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.


Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Assembly-line legal thriller: flat characters, lame scene-setting, and short but somehow interminable action: a lifeless...


Two defrocked Secret Service Agents investigate the assassination of one presidential candidate and the kidnapping of another.

Baldacci (The Christmas Train, 2002, etc.) sets out with two plot strands. The first begins when something distracts Secret Service Agent Sean King and during that “split second,” presidential candidate Clyde Ritter is shot dead. King takes out the killer, but that’s not enough to save his reputation with the Secret Service. He retires and goes on to do often tedious but nonetheless always lucrative work (much like a legal thriller such as this) at a law practice. Plot two begins eight years later when another Secret Service Agent, Michelle Maxwell, lets presidential candidate John Bruno out of her sight for a few minutes at a wake for one of his close associates. He goes missing. Now Maxwell, too, gets in dutch with the SS. Though separated by time, the cases are similar and leave several questions unanswered. What distracted King at the rally? Bruno had claimed his friend’s widow called him to the funeral home. The widow (one of the few characters here to have any life) says she never called Bruno. Who set him up? Who did a chambermaid at Ritter’s hotel blackmail? And who is the man in the Buick shadowing King’s and Maxwell’s every move? King is a handsome, rich divorce, Maxwell an attractive marathon runner. Will they join forces and find each other kind of, well, appealing? But of course. The two former agents traverse the countryside, spinning endless hypotheses before the onset, at last, of a jerrybuilt conclusion that begs credibility and offers few surprises.

Assembly-line legal thriller: flat characters, lame scene-setting, and short but somehow interminable action: a lifeless concoction.

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2003

ISBN: 0-446-53089-1

Page Count: 406

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2003

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