Swift Vengeance by T. Jefferson Parker
Fear arrives like a black cloud when you least expect it.
Pasts become present and deaths become the norm as Lindsey Rakes a former drone operator for the Air Force and have a strong love of liquor and gambling learns that not only don’t these too mix well but also it causes her to have escape her own world and her daily job. Roland Ford met her in a casino and now two and a half years later, she needs him to protect and help her to get her life back on track. Her son is precious to her and Liam is her whole life but due to her behavior and lifestyle she loses custody to her ex-husband. Hoping to regain shared custody and the trust of her ex-husband Brandon, she something is hanging that huge black cloud over her head and an even thicker black veil over her face preventing the sun from shining through. A threat in the form of a note signed by someone calling himself: CALIPHORNIA threatens her with death and tells her there is no place to hide and he’s coming for her to decapitate her. Dating a man named Rasha draws her memories that he might be the one behind the death threats. Ford puts her up on his property in one of his casitas to protect her. Groups of friends and family, The Irregulars are what makes him special by allowing them to rent from him.
Joan Taucher is an FBI agent of a different breed who is brash, tough and takes no prisoners. Based in San Diego she is a new agent at the time when 9/11 terrorists were connected that city. She is harsh nosed, tough and works on catching other terrorists hopefully before they strike. Lindsey Rakes reaches out to her former crew, called the Headhunters but someone takes one out in his own home. Caliphornia is targeting her next unless Roland Ford and his team can protect her.
Ford laments at times about his wife’s tragic death and helping other people is his way of coping. As a private investigator he uses his skills to help find this killer. Lindsey Rakes flew drones and the job is stressful enough but knowing that she was responsible for the deaths of innocent people caused her to resign and have to cope with losing custody of her son and much more. Rasha Samara is a landscape architect and plays a role dating her. He’s from Saudi Arabia and she is in the middle of divorcing Brandon Goff and yet you wonder more about this man as you get to know his background. “Vengeance if Justice,” signed by Caliphornia and the handwriting on this note is similar to Rasha’s.
Ford and Taucher make an interesting team and the danger to Lindsey is real but at times you hope she takes it seriously. While the investigation is ongoing and Rasha and Caliphornia seem connected, can Joan instill some fear or caution in Lindsey?
Kenny Bryce and Marlon Voss were two of his victims and beheading Bryce makes it more dire as the pictures come front and center and the video of the beheading becomes part of what they see and learn. Both Voss and Bryce were beheaded and when you finally hear the voice of this terrorist and his rationale and thinking it will give you chills all over as he rationalizing what he has planned and how he plans to execute his goals.
Kenny Bryce and Marlon Voss were the victims of this killer. Kenny was the information coordinator of Headhunters and someone connected to the deaths of 8 people because of the drones that killed them. Lindsey was the sensor and could not avoid what happened and this terrorist is out for revenge to make those responsible pay. Getting to know Rasha Samara you wonder about his interest in Lindsey. Questions answered but he gives readers an uneasy feeling at times.
Meeting with another family you get to know the reason why their father was killed and you instantly feel the undertone of hate towards Americans.
Dealing with Blevins her supervisor from the FBI and other members of law enforcement, both Roland and Joan meet many obstacles, oppositions and their plan to foil this man starts with flowing someone close to him named Hector. Learning more about him, following his movements they hope to catch this terrorist and finding a way to communicate with him is frightening when you read the messages and hear his words.
Lindsey explains that Kenny and Marlon both knew how hard she tried to get the missile away from people. She states she was a good sensor. Roland She requested to defend that since both Kenny and Marlon are gone. But, a special dog named Zeno was employed to protect her but will anyone be safe until he’s caught?
She flashes back to what happened in Aleppo when someone named Zkrya Gourmat took off and the Headhunters went from zero to ninety in a heartbeat. She graphically explains the chase and the final result.
Marsh Azmeh saw Roland at her work place at the County of Los Angeles Public Social Services Department.
But, will she help and tell them what the need to know? Placing her in a tenuous position but events would escalate and lives are at stake as author Jefferson Parker keeps readers on edge, tense creating a plot that can be ripped out of the headlines and makes us aware that we need to remain vigilant and alert all the time.
A plan to foil California goes wrong and two agents are killed and some bystanders but who orchestrated the death? When the truth is revealed this terrorist is claiming Credit and his Facebook wall says it all leaving no doubt about his intentions and placing Lindsey in the limelight.
When the connections are made we learn some interesting facts about this person and others close to him that might be connected. The “ threat upon the land.” As the song says: this land for you and me!
As they face the worst and the explosive conclusion arrives will they take him down? An ending so realistic and haunting you’ll see it every time you close your eyes or hear about it in the news. Who’s to blame? Some endings are sad, unexpected and will remain within the minds of readers and Ford forever. Some endings are new beginnings and life changing for some as Ford learns from what happened in the past, Lindsey hopes to move ahead with her life in the future and each one has to deal with their own demons and learn the true meaning of forgiveness, hope and survival.
Who has more to overcome and who if anyone at the end truly succeeded in enacting Sweet Vengeance?
Fran Lewis: just reviews/MJ network/Mj Magazine
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