Author: Erec Stebbins
Genre: Mystery, Action, Spy
Date of Publication: September 26, 2017
Series: Intel 1 # 5
Publisher: Twice Pi Press
A serial killer targetting men is on the loose, leaving their mutilated bodies on display for women to find. Meanwhile, Intel 1, a top-secret government agency, is tracking down the elusive Nemesis in Tehran… But how are these two stories connected?
This novel isn’t just a mystery. Just like the Goodreads blurb says: It’s an espionage thriller, a bio-thriller, political satire, and a police procedural.
I hadn’t read the previous four instalments in the this book, yet I jumped into this book with ease. There are a lot of characters, but they very distinct from one another and Stebbins introduces them gradually enough that they’re easy to keep track of.
There are two main plotlines that are seemingly completely isolated from one another (at first). There is a serial killer named the Eunuch Maker who is targetting men. Detective Tyrell Sacker is working with a PI named Grace Gone (LOVE her name AND her personality) to track down this elusive killer.
The second storyline follows the Intel 1 team, who I assume seasoned readers have already gotten to know in the previous four books in this series, as they complete a mission overseas.
These two stories are quite disparate, but Stebbins flows between them effortlessly. That said, I preferred the storyline following the serial killer, but that might be because of my own twisted preferences.
In the background of the action, there’s a presidential election underway, and one of the candidates is quite clearly Trump, though he has a different name. The things he says are almost identical to what Trump has said. This truly added to the horror aspects of the story, let me tell you. I would say it was political satire, but it was exactly what really happened, so how can it be satire?
You can tell that the author is in the biomedical field, and a quick check of his bio confirmed it. There’s a lot of science talk towards the end of the book, but it’s written in such a way that it’s compelling, and doesn’t feel like an info-dump. It’s critical to the plot and interesting for nerds like me, but it’s brief enough for those who don’t want any science in their thrillers (heathens!).
There are a lot of characters in this book, but only a few main characters. I found Grace Gone, PI, to be a fascinating protagonist, and I was hoping to have more chapters focusing on her and Tyrell Sacker, the cop who is working with her. They have an intriguing storyline and well-developed character arcs, and I wanted to see more of them by the time the novel ended.
Other characters are just as well fleshed out, and quite diverse. It’s rare to read a spy or police procedural where it isn’t all middle-aged white men grandstanding with one another.
I recommend this book to anyone who isn’t sure what they want to read. Are you in the mood for a political commentary? A Tom Clancy-esque spy novel? Maybe a Noir private investigator-style mystery with a bad-ass female heroine and a hint of romance? If you said yes to any of these, then this book is for you!
*Thank you to the author for the book for review*
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