Mystery, thriller - novel
TBR reviewer: Mark
Frank Paine is an ex-Hollywood actor, turned recent FBI Agent, with a rather seedy, secret past. In his former life, Frank had an addiction to online BDSM chat rooms ~ something which now threatens to be revealed when he attends a call to a Motel room and walks in on a scene that could have been taken straight from one of his role-play scenarios. Someone appears to be targeting Frank and trying to trip up his new career but is there something deeper and more malevolent at work than just a personal vendetta?
Meanwhile washed-up, alcoholic, former Pulitzer prize winning journalist, Roger Martin is at his wits end trying to find a story that will restore him to former glory. Investigating a series of mysterious, apparently unlinked disappearances of eccentric rich millionaires over a period of several years, Martin accidentally stumbles across a conspiracy that has so far gone unnoticed. And the further he delves, the more his and the FBI's investigation begin to link...
This is a highly enjoyable and engaging thriller that grips you very early on and refuses to let go! Don't let yourself be put off by the mentions of BDSM either because there is nothing very explicit in the text and in fact much of what Mr. Kahn mentioned is very tame, carrying only the merest hint of eroticism. The characters are well conceived too and the way the two plot threads eventually string together is very cleverly done. I'll be honest, this wasn't my first choice of book to review but in hind sight, this was a mistake on my part as I found myself enjoying this far more than I ever expected to! Within only a few chapters, I was hooked and couldn't stop reading right up until the end!
One thing I always ask myself when discovering a new writer is would I read anything else by this author and here, the answer is a definite yes. This novel is by no means perfect but has very few faults and Larry Kahn has an accomplished style that helps the story to flow to its natural conclusion, pulling you along in its stream almost without you realizing you are hooked! If you like strong mystery thrillers with plenty of tension and suspense, then this
novel is for you and is a far better read than many of the mass-market thrillers that you can normally pick up from your local supermarket shelf!
King of Paine definitely comes recommended!
Frank found Reyes studying the contents of an open folder in one of a dozen cubicles dotting the blue-carpeted bullpen. After getting his attention with a knock on the vinyl doorframe, Frank skipped the bull. “Woody’s out today, but I want in on this rape case. It’s a better fit for Violent Crimes than the Kiddie Porn Unit, don’t you think?”
Reyes set the folder down on his desktop, gesturing for him to sit in the lone chair opposite his gray metal desk. “Maybe even a better one for the Atlanta police. I don’t see the federal issue.”
As Frank sat, he recognized one of his old headshots on top of the open folder—wavy, golden brown hair, sun-baked skin, dimpled chin, blue eyes, and that ridiculous smirk his fans seemed to adore. Rugged good looks that translated well on film, less impressive in a locker room full of linebackers. It did not bode well that Reyes was studying his personnel file.
He clenched and unclenched his clammy fists to collect himself. His nerves always acted up before a first take but, with Reyes already suspicious, he sensed there would be only one chance to get this right. Lee Fields’s voice echoed in his head.Play it with emotion, Frankie Boy. He summoned a memory from his early days in Hollywood, when he lost a role after a kick-ass audition to a jerk who was the director’s second cousin’s kid or some other convoluted relation.
“Give them Ralston for the rape if you want,” he began. “But some lunatic is working the Internet, setting up sex crimes. I researched this last night and think we can prosecute under federal law for criminal use of a communication facility or cyberstalking. He may have struck before, and he may strike again, in Atlanta or elsewhere. It’s not a local issue.”
Reyes’s eyebrows arched up. “Why the sudden interest in this case, my friend? Low profile. No terrorists. No serial killers. Not exactly Hollywood stuff, no?”
Frank averted his eyes, unable to hold the Cyber agent’s penetrating gaze. No matter how hard he worked to fit in, these guys would only see that grinning idiot playing G-Man on the big screen. Were they so wrong? When did the acting stop and Frank Paine begin? He unclipped the shield from his jacket pocket, slowly twirling it in his hand.
“You’ve got the wrong idea about me. I don’t want publicity. I’m not proud of some things I’ve done, but one day I’d like to be able to look myself in the eye when I stare into the mirror. This badge stands for principles I want to live by. Fidelity. Bravery. Integrity. I can’t do that if you treat me like a joke.”
Reyes closed the folder, studying Frank intently. “Our UNSUB—the unknown subject—sent you a personal invitation to this fiesta, my friend. You want to recite the Bureau motto for me? Stop acting and spill the frijoles. I googled the nickname your tipster used and did not get any hits referring to you. Tell me about The King of Paine.”
Mr. Kahn is giving away an ecopy to one lucky winner! Comment below to enter. Contest ends Jan. 27th.