The Rule of Nine: Steve Martini
Jimmie Snyder is dead. Not because he was a bad person, not because he committed a heinous crime, but because he decided to bend the rules. Jimmie worked as a staffer for the Senate Intelligence Committee and got conned into giving an “older man” a tour of the facility. Thinking that he was just doing his job as a guide, one of three, he never realized that he was being targeted by this man. Found dead in his apartment of what was orchestrated as an overdose of drugs, this methodical killer and his co-ort think they might have committed the perfect crime. Information is scarce and anyone with information asked to come forward.
Paul Madriani, Harry Hinds and Herman Diggs were called in or shall I say summoned to be questioned by Zeb Thorpe and James Olson. Olsen the new United States attorney for the Southern District of California and Thorpe, assistant director for the FBI’s National Security Branch as possible suspects or having knowledge about the murder of Jimmy Snyder. But, hours of intense and brutal questioning and debriefing of precious incident that took place involving a forty-year old nuclear bomb originally “designed for the belly of an obsolete Russian cruise missile and modified sufficiently to be loaded into the bed of a rental truck” is the primary focus of their investigation besides Jimmie’s murder. Coming close to a national disaster and a huge moon sized crater at the north end of Coronado, they shudder to think of what might have happened. Delving further the author reminds us of the outcome when we left the terrorists and these three at the end of Guardian of Lies and one man, Alim Afundi, behind it all, gets away. As the interrogation continues we learn of his demise, the whereabouts of his charred remains and they learn about our assassin from the previous novel: Liquida. Elusive, dangerous and with no apparent knowledge of his appearance or identifying pictures or marks at this time, he seems to be a phantom. But, mistakes are made and how did they ID him? Somehow his fingerprint was on a business card belonging to our attorney, namely Paul.
This is where things get more complicated as the author brings to light some hidden secrets that you may think are only written in plots, movies or news articles. Senator Joshua Root and Supreme Court Justice Nicholas Merle have been lifelong friends. So, why does Root want Merle to step down? What advantage to the party would it have and to the president in the upcoming elections, would it benefit if he retired?
Josh Root has other problems besides trying to convince his friend to step down. Within his past he belonged to a radical group called The Weathermen. A domestic terrorist group whose creator has resurfaced and who knows Root’s hidden financial secrets. Buried in a foreign bank account he has billions of dollars. Just how you won’t believe as he transferred sums accumulating huge fortunes, not just him but also others, into banks controlled by foreign countries. Senior members of Congress, including Root, had stacks, piles, mounds of money : TAX FREE! But, someone knows it all and forty years of corruption and incompetence and the “national economy suddenly tanked.” Never reporting any of it and then out of nowhere this person reappears and he cannot deny he belonged to it years ago. So, now when being blackmailed he has no choice but to comply.
In the Supreme Court there are nine judges that decide and preside. “
The Constitution places the power to determine the number of Justices in the hands of Congress. The first Judiciary Act, passed in 1789, set the number of Justices at six, one Chief Justice and five Associates. Over the years Congress has passed various acts to change this number, fluctuating from a low of five to a high of ten. The Judiciary Act of 1869 fixed the number of Justices at nine and no subsequent change to the number of Justices has occurred.” http://www.supremecourt.gov/faq.aspx Just how this will apply to the final judgment and the fate of all remains to be seen. The Rule of Nine: Steve Martini: Catch your breath: Hold on! Get ready for a bumpy ride!
Liquida Muera or the Mexicutioner, is an elusive hired assassin who relishes and takes great joy in torturing his victims. But, Liquida is out to get Mardriani and not only does he want to get his victim but Pau’s daughter Sarah is a definite target too. But, Jimmie Snyder is dead and for some reason this killer made it look like Madriani had something to do with his murder. Sometimes the choices we make come back and haunt us and this naïve congressional aide, paid the ultimate price by trusting a man who seemed kind, friendly in interested in seeing some areas that the public was not privy too. This cost him his life and possibly might destroy the inner workings of the entire Supreme Court. Enter a terrorist named Thorn who enlisted Liquida to rid him of Jimmie. Disguising himself and using many different enhancements Thorn never thought that Jimmie would be questioned about his visit, realize he had taken pictures and could describe him perfectly. For those reasons and more he needed him eliminated.
But, Madriani and his team now coming back after the situation at the Naval base in Coronado and learn that FBI and other law enforcement agencies are blind to what is really at stake. But, someone would come into his life and join the team in an unexpected way. Meet Jocelyn Cole whose goal it is to learn more about Madriani, claiming she had information that could help him and introducing herself as anything but what she is: an arms control activist.
There is a more underlying problem as we listen to Senator Josh Root, learn about the debt in Washington and how they need to get more money and revenue by initiating a program to tax overseas accounts which would mean anyone with money in foreign banks would now have declare it and pay taxes. So, what will Root do if found out and what happens when he’s blackmailed by someone because he belonged to the Weathermen and is now having to pay for his past? His actions in the past and during the Vietnam War resulted in a death.
As things heat up and more lives are lost Bart Snyder learns information that could break things open but the FBI shoves him aside, the information too, as Thorn becomes more than just a major thorn in everyone’s side and our assassin gets busy again. Liquida is smart and definitely outsmarts Paul and his team as he brilliantly finds a way to track them. But, tragedy strikes as Paul’s daughter and her friend decide to have an evening out and rather than alert her to any danger he and Herman Diggs provide their own brand of hidden security but obviously not good enough for Sarah’s friend Jenny.
Joselyn Cole becomes a major player in this situation as she explains the dangers of precision weapons and explaining it to panel relating that they were the “dream weapons of terrorists.” But, just what was Thorn planning and who was behind what he was doing? Who could afford his rates and what would the end result be? As readers get to know him better, learn about his deal to buy an old 727-100 C for the right price using it for his own special purpose, we learn how it is designed, how it would be restored as the author describes it in detail on pages 319- 323. But, Herman Diggs is resourceful, smart and learns where Thorn is staying, gets info from a desk clerk in a very creative way and the chase is on but no one will believe them. When Paul, Diggs and Cole find their way to where the plane is stored, learn that there is a bomb on it and what it might be capable of doing, why doesn’t Thorpe and the FBI take heed? Who is in custody that they think will explain what happened in Coronado? Why do they ignore Paul? Thorn is Paul’s link to the assassin and without this link how will they stop Liquida? Or can they?
When the truth is finally figured out a photograph would explain it all and one date would end more lives if someone were not stopped. What would happen if all of the Supreme Court Justices were killed in one swift move or explosion? What would happen to our highest court? What happens when one man decides that in order to create a better system of justice the President needs to replace those that are considered THE RULE OF NINE!
A chase within the tunnels and subway system that will leave readers winded, breathless and wondering if Paul can stop what someone has already put in place. One man’s life hangs in the balance. Many lives have been lost but how many more will pay? Someone close to Paul risks it all? What about Sarah and Harry? Will the assassin finish what he intended in the first place? A deadly chase, a deadly bomb, a plane that could destroy the capital if the clock runs out and the bomb goes off? The Rule of Nine! Just who is behind it all? Some packages should not be opened? Find out what that means when you read what happens next in Trader of Secrets by five star novelist Steve Martini.
A fast paced plot filled with research dealing with weaponry and plane restoration, the government is in trouble and only author Steve Martini has the power to change it all as he and Paul Madriani get ready for another roller coaster ride.
Fran Lewis: reviewer