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Update  December, 2019

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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
Book Review

Jeff Lindsay has entertaining new thriller

“Just Watch Me,” Dutton, by Jeff Lindsay.

 Bruce DeSilva

Riley Wolfe gets his kicks executing spectacular robberies that no one else would even contemplate. His victims are always the super-rich, whom he despises as “smug, do-nothing, self-loving leeches.”

This anti-hero makes his debut in “Just Watch Me,” a supremely entertaining new thriller by Jeff Lindsay that promises to be the first of a series.

The plot combines the intricacies of caper movies such as “The Thomas Crown Affair” and “To Catch a Thief” with the creepy sensibility of the hit TV show “Dexter.” The latter is no surprise since the show was inspired by Lindsay’s eight novels featuring Dexter Morgan, a serial killer who preyed only upon other serial killers. Unlike Dexter, Wolfe takes no pleasure in murder, but he displays no qualms about dispassionately dispatching anyone who gets in his way.

The opening of the story finds Wolfe taking no satisfaction from his spectacular heist of a 12-ton sculpture, swiped in broad daylight at its dedication ceremony. For him, the spectacular has become ordinary, and it bores him. He craves a caper that is “beyond impossible, something ridiculous, unthinkable.”

He finds it when the government in Tehran, hoping to thaw its relations with the United States, lends the Iranian crown jewels to a New York City museum. There, the multi-billion-dollar treasure is guarded by the latest in high-tech security systems and by both American-trained mercenaries and a “trigger-happy” contingent of Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Meanwhile, Wolfe is being tracked by Frank Delgado, a clever FBI agent who has been after him for years, always a step or two behind. Now, the agent has decided that the only way to catch Wolfe is to uncover his weakness — one that must have its roots in Wolfe’s upbringing.

So Delgado crisscrosses the eastern half of the United States, digging into Wolfe’s long-buried family history. Readers who know how caper stories usually work will have little doubt who is going to win this cat-and-mouse game, but the agent’s fine detective work succeeds in unearthing the influences that turned Wolfe into the man he has become.

“Just Watch Me,” then, is both an exciting crime story and a revealing exploration of the psychology of a master criminal. The writing is tight and vivid, the characters are convincingly portrayed and the action is nonstop.

Bruce DeSilva, winner of the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, is the author of the Mulligan crime novels including “The Dread Line.”


Baldacci’s new thriller spooks and horrifies

“A Minute to Midnight: an Atlee Pine Thriller,”
Grand Central Publishing, by David Baldacci.

Waka Tsunoda

David Baldacci made his literary debut in 1996 with a political thriller, “Absolute Power.” He has since written novels with blinding speed, many of them action thrillers featuring men with military backgrounds.

With his latest, “A Minute to Midnight,” the author changes gears and offers a murder mystery that spooks and horrifies.

The drama begins as FBI agent Atlee Pine comes upon a registered sex offender trying to abduct a little girl. She overpowers the man and pulls the girl to safety, but she doesn’t stop there. She beats him until he is unconscious. In her mind, the man has become confused with the still unidentified individual who came into her bedroom when she was 6 years old, almost killing her and running off with her twin sister Mercy.

Ordered to take a vacation for having used excessive force in the incident, Pine returns to her hometown in Georgia and attempts to solve the crime that happened nearly 30 years ago.

With the help of her assistant, Pine interviews her former neighbors, family friends and a man who now lives in her childhood home. Many remember the horrific incident, but no one can shed any new light on it. Meanwhile, a woman’s corpse in a wedding veil turns up, followed by another in a tuxedo and yet another in an American Civil War costume.

Pine manages to solve these new cases and even discovers some surprising secrets about her parents, but the answer to her old case still evades her. For Atlee Pine fans, this is good news because it means Baldacci has another thriller about her in the oven.




HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Jeff Lindsay has entertaining new thriller

Baldacci’s new thriller spooks and horrifies