Creating a new vision for a city is the premise behind this latest installment of the Cris de Niro series as author Gerard de Marigny once again enters the world of high finance, criminal justice and a man named Tonio who enters the room during a presentation and disrupts what Kevin Matthews wants to impart as he explains his vision for a New Detroit. But before he can complete what he has to say Antonio Brown enters and hands him a picture that will change it all as he places his photo in his hands and the sight alone is horrific. Tonio enters the conference room and explains that he has buried three of his sons in drug related gun battles and two are doing life for murder and selling drugs. Teddy was young and was a star halfback in high school and he was the only one of his children to go to high school. Anger raged within this man and Tonio could feel the contempt in the room. He sold drugs and dif bad things and wound up doing 15 years. So, why did he interrupt this meeting and what was he hoping De Niro and the Watchman to do for him?
Teddy was murdered and Tonio relates that he thinks that there are people at the nearby Mosque who were responsible. In the De Niro Presidential Suite they talked, Tonio checked his messages on his phone and he left the hotel. But, things were about to take on a deadly turn when Syed Malik as 28 year- old Pakistan, born in Chicago was watching and tracing Tonio’s route on his laptop screen when a slender woman arrived. Her real name Samantha in reality she is the infamous White Widow, play on words given to her by the media. Focusing on her race, the death of her first so-called husband, a suicide bomber, and the practice of referring to Chechen female suicide bombers as “black widows.”
A project that was supposed to be something to revitalize a city would now be in jeapordy and never happen if it is up to the White Widow. She is after Tonio and wants him gone but why and who really killed his son? When analyzing the photo Cris and his team realize that Antonio Brown was a former drug dealer but the killing had all the hallmarks of Islamic Terrorists. Justice for his son is what he wants but at whose risk? De Niro’s team is comprised of Mugsy Ricci, John Francis, Karla and the one that is the most lethal Scipio. Wanting them to find out who killed his son leads them to a terrorist plot that will shake the reader’s insides and remind you of 9/11. The White Widow has no mercy, shows no feelings and kills and murders at whim. The target date is July 4 and unless they can prevent what she has already set in motion the nation will suffer more deaths worse than the attack on the World Trade Center.
When the team finds its way to the home of Terrell Briggs his grandmother relates he is not there. Mother Briggs is what she is called and Karla takes the lead. Muslim names were given to her grandson and others when they joined the Mosque. She told them that he told her Teddy was dead and he ran out and has not been heard from since. If Terrell is still alive they needed to hack their way into the mosque and find him. Scipio was the answer.
Things take a wicked turn when the team is at their hotel and someone pretends to be room service. Taken into their custody those in charge of the Mosque are now holding the team hostage and the place where they are being held is unbearable, hot and their resources limited but will they give up? The Presidential Suite of the Henry is where they are and having dinner is what they were doing as they talked about their strategy until someone rang the bell and someone had a gun at Francis’s head and everyone was now powerless handing over phones, pens, change, wallets and more. No one saw them but Kevin Matthews received more than he expected. Scipio met Tonio and together they would form an alliance to hopefully find the team, which was placed in an underground compound with no way to get out. Terrell was on the scene and followed Naheed at a distance and was unseen. Khan and Naheed were standing with their backs to him inside the doorway and he could see five sitting on the floor wrapped in tape. But, Terrell was going to come back and he would do his best to try and free them but he was going to need some major help.
Scipio realized who the woman is and that is called The White Widow and Tonio remained staring at him and realized that Tonio was street smart too. Why would a British Terrorist kidnap De Niro? Going to the mosque his son attended might have something to do with it. While Scipio and Tonio sat in the SUV blocks away from the Faisal Islam Mosque and hoping that they would take out the guards and then we hear the voices of the captives are Kevin is hurt and they are afraid he won’t make it. The cameras that are in the basement are there to watch their every move but Terrell made is way to the back door and tried to push the pencil under the door but no luck. But, something happened and he was not sure that part of it made it through hoping to let them know someone was there. Writing a note and slipping it under the door he gave them a signal and they realized that Terrell was on the other side and wanted to help them but how? The message came and told what to do and Terrell was on a mission.
Imam Essayed was in his chair reclining and questioned Khan as to where woman was now. But, unfortunately no one could be trusted and the woman and Syed were in charge. Despite her decision to bring the Imam to the Mosque and keeping him alive but for how long? Imam realized that something was wrong and he thought they came there to shoot him but Tonio heard Scipio who could not answer because the Imam and the guards were facing him. You are the father of Tariq Ali. He was the father of Teddy Brown. Question not answered: Did you murder my son? Tonio was told to tell the Imam to give him his cellphone and reaching into his pocket a gun pressed against his head but the end result was not what you would expect and Tonio used the gun to take out the guards and the Imam lost his life too.
Khan answered his phone and learned from Malik who was with the White Widow the end result and from here on things would get more dangerous for everyone.
Cris is wired and between Khan and Naheed one wants the trigger to his jacket to take them all out but Cris and his team are not going down so fast as the reader will learn. Tonio and Scipio thought they were not found out but they were as we see the end result which will teach these terrorists not to mess with this team and as come out with their hands held high but what happens next changes the playing field but not for very long. Terrell is now in place and hopes that he had the courage to take out the guards and save Cris and his team.
With Terrell and Scipio entering the boiler room and Mugsy and Khan in a death grip who would come out alive as the action gets more intense as author Gerard De Marigny keeps the tension high and the death toll rising. Terrell and Tonio come face to face and Tonio learns the truth behind his son’s death.
The heat in the boiler room was intense and the injury that Kevin faced getting worse as Khan turned the corner and realized the Widow was going to detonate the vest that Cris was wearing. As Karla volunteered the bottom of her dress to help he realized the fear in her eyes when he tried to help Kevin. Guns blazing, bodies falling and the same with cell phones that added a problem that causing Detroit to rank tenth for the worse cell service. When the Archangel para-military arrived and Kevin was taken out and finally hopefully to a hospital the danger was far from over. What will happen when the White Widow realizes that her prisoners are gone and Khan is second in command and realized that at 23 the author shares with us he was an orphan left at the Mosque and given a Muslim name. More lives are ended and a heap of bodies in place as Khan grins when he saw Mohamed was choking the life out of the infidels. Weapons drawn but both sides seem to be out as Naheed wished the Imam were there to lead them. Still trapped in the basement they informed Vin they needed more help and that Vin Rigoni would understand Code Red. Frank happened to come in contact and get a call that saved the day as sometimes things happen for a reason. The Archangel squad was ready and Rigoni was the head of Michael’s squad and there was Pescalitis, De May and more who would take the reins to save Cris and his men using the longitude and coordinates given. The plan set in motion was to create an attack in many places during the July 4th celebrations. When in place Rigoni and his team dropped the hostiles in the room before they even got to their weapons. The Widow was not done yet and the end result will surprise readers but first De Niro needed to contact Michelle and Francis would remain with Michael and his squad and give her the coordinate with the FBI bringing them up to speed. Tonio and Karla were taking Kevin to the hospital but they were attacked on the way. As the tension mounts and the Detroit Police are brought in and De Niro waves his hands at the driver to get him to pull up further while trying to get off some rounds, they meet Lt. Barren who is impressed with De Niro who continues to explain that Las Vegas was save for many years but there is much more to come as Naheed and Syed and the Widow are still at large.
When they find out where the explosion was to take place and how they would stop the celebrations De Niro comes face to face with the Widow but the ending was more than explosive. Fireballs, gunshots and more as the shouting was loud and the end result they were too late. Syed flinched when the fiery orb soared over his should and the next thing the world took on a different view. Paradise: Is it really beautiful?
As Terrell faces his grandmother and he learns what Cris has planned for him for all his help will he change directions and appreciate the gift he was about to receive? An ending that lets you know there is more to come as the White Widow just might return for a rematch with Cris. Once again Author Gerard De Marigny presents a five star blockbuster novel that focuses on hate, religious differences, power, control, hope, and the desire to create a better Detroit. Will their project succeed and what is next for De Niro and his team only the author knows and maybe the White Widow!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine