A young man uses newfound abilities to go up against corrupt officials in a rural American town in Pearson’s debut thriller.
After losing his job as an executive trainee at a regional bank, Dan Icor decides to take a road trip. While pulling into a gas station in the middle of nowhere he witnesses four armed men violently confront a Native American man named John Strongheart and his wife and daughter. Dan intervenes and gets shot in the process, but he’s rescued by Strongheart, who takes him to his home and gives him “ancient medicinal Indian herbs and tea.” When Dan awakens days later he finds that someone has massacred the Strongheart family. Surprisingly, Strongheart left his estate to Dan, who now has special abilities, such as the power to manipulate his facial muscles to completely disguise his appearance. In town, he meets a woman named Jenifer Taylor and gets a job at the local bank, where her father, John, is chairman of the board. Dan tries to thwart an attempted takeover of the bank, spearheaded by Mayor Clay Carter and his sons, one of whom is the local sheriff. Clay also has a connection to Dan’s uncle Dave Johnson, who financially ruined Dan’s late father, Fred. Dan suspects that the Carters were behind the Stronghearts’ murders, and he hopes to prove it, even if it requires numerous fisticuffs. Pearson beefs up his revenge story with a dynamic protagonist with strong, clear motivations. Despite Dan’s personal reasons for despising the Carters, he primarily seeks vengeance for the Stronghearts. The author also effectively shows how Dan draws on his business expertise as much as his physical prowess; his intricate plan includes stopping the Carters from acquiring the bank’s largest stock position. This begets an abundance of financial jargon, which the author, a banking-industry retiree, simplifies with clear definitions. The descriptions of women’s physical traits, though, are unfortunately excessive, though, with their strong focus on John Taylor’s secretary, Tina, and her large breasts. Dan’s new powers, meanwhile, may be further developed in a proposed sequel.
A mostly solid thriller with an intriguingly subdued superhero.