Friday, January 16, 2015

Murder in the Park - Rowan Wolfe

Summary: A deputy legal counsel to the White House is found dead in Fort Marcy Park, and after an investigation marred with mistakes and inconsistencies, his death is finally ruled a suicide. Eight years later, a new president is determined to clean-up all his predecessor's "dirty laundry" by offering the mission to the newly promoted Lt. Col. Michael Correa, U.S. Army Special Forces. "Seeing as who could be implicated in Victor Fallon's death, I thought you'd jump at the chance," he tells Michael. Reluctantly accepting the covert mission, along with a small, handpicked team, the commander-in-chief reminds Michael that "the jungle's now concrete and the enemy wears suits." After reading the official report on Fallon's death, Michael's first stop is the former first lady, Harriet Pearson, who from the outset begins to plot with CIA deputy director, Charles Ashburn, on ways to rid themselves of Michael - permanently. The terrorist attacks on 9/11 interrupt the mission, but eleven months later, Michael resurfaces, more determined than ever to expose Harriet's illegal activities. The list of homicides quickly grows. With an undercover DEA agent now in the mix, a high seas kidnapping that involves the U.S. Coast Guard, and a narcotics detective from Miami P.D., the investigation gathers speed. When the 'Most Wanted' leader of a Colombian drug cartel is also implicated, Michael resorts to unleashing his Special Forces teammates, with the help of a Global Hawk UAV, in a high-risk takedown. All Michael and the team have to do, while connecting all the dots, is stay alive and prevent Michael's father, Francis, the returning director of the CIA, from learning too much. Will the former first lady get away with murder? The outcome is guaranteed to surprise you. This is the third book in the series, and the reader will again meet some familiar characters in Rowan Wolfe's well-researched and fast-paced thriller. (Summary and pic from

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review.

My Review:  So here’s what I liked about this book—the political intrigue. I think that we as Americans enjoy torturing ourselves with the idea that our politicians are totally corrupt and always wheeling and dealing and if people get killed in the process of it all, then that’s pretty much what we expected anyway. Right? And of course I’m a firm believer that there is quite a bit of this dirt going around in our political system for real. But we’re going to avoid that tangent…this book has plenty of that political intrigue. There’s a fair amount of drama and dirty politicians and quick-witted people who are all working to take each other down. So it makes for an interesting, fast-paced story with lots of action and lots of drama. The main characters are believable because there’s no one who is completely virtuous or above it all, and they have this take-no-prisoners attitude when it comes to their dealings with each other. If you’re wronged by someone, then by jove you bettah believe they’re gonna pay big time. The secondary characters were not so well-developed and were a little too intentionally well-placed (as in always completely loyal, always completely able to do what needs to be done regardless of what they think personally, and always having the right skills and access to the right resources to accomplish anything). Sure there are loyal people out there, and people who are willing to do whatever it takes, but in this case, these characters felt a little bit contrived, especially because people on the side of the main character, the, er, “good guy,” basically were able to do everything they needed to and everything worked out, whereas the bad guys basically got their unabashed comeuppance.

Though this book was the third in the series and I hadn't read the previous two, I had no problem knowing what was going on. I think it stood alone on its own just fine. The author did a good job of filling in enough of the back story that I didn't feel lost or even know it was the third in the series until I read more about it.

The weaknesses in Murder in the Park for me were mainly style issues. The book is broken into small chronological sections with place names and dates as the header, which helps you keep track, but then, right when a huge part of the drama is happening, the book just stops and jumps a year ahead, and then alludes to these big events that happened in the interim. I can’t decide whether the author ddidn'twant to deal with those things or just thought they didn't matter. Anyway, it made the book feel really chopped up—almost like two books. The events and tone of the second part of the book are, in fact, quite different from those in the first part of the book, which made it feel disconnected as well. Another style issue was that the writing was almost stream of consciousness in some places—telling what characters thought and felt in an almost summary form, which, although it served its purpose, felt a little clunky.

Overall, I would say the story saved this book. It’s interesting, it’s gritty, and it definitely had some intrigue.

My Rating:  3 Stars

For the sensitive reader: There is some language and sex in this book, but it is consistent with other books in this genre.

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