Follow Here To Purchase Greco's Game

Author: James Houston Turner

Publisher: Comfort Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-936695-48-5 (Available for Sale Sept 2012)

Here is another author you will kick yourself why you missed until now. With his most recent tome, Greco's Game there is no denying that James Houston Turner is a master when it comes to writing well-paced gripping prose that pulsates on every page. And if your are a chess enthusiast, you will love how Turner intertwines into his yarn a classic chess strategy where a diversionary tactic is employed to distract one's opponent and when the attempt is foiled, the opponent is checkmated when he or she least expects it. Most often the queen is sacrificed, wherein the winner lures the opponent into a false sense of security and as mentioned in Turner's narrative, it is the ultimate gambit, the ultimate risk, the ultimate power play of feigning weakness and loss.

As a sequel to his Department Thirteen, Turner once again features KGB Colonel Aleksandr “Alex” Mikhailevich Talanov, a former informant for the CIA who is on the run because of a bank account in Switzerland that had secretly being put in his name. As a result, a team of killers are chasing him, after the money had been manipulated from seven million dollars to nearly one-and-half billion dollars and then simply vanishes. Talanov takes off to Australia with his wife Andrea and subsequently flees to Los Angeles where Andrea is shot and killed during an award ceremony honoring her for her work with an orphanage network that rescues children from being sold into slavery. Talanov, who incidentally was now in the USA on a pending Green Card application, blames himself for the murder of his wife and believes the bullet was meant for him and vows revenge.

While mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he drowns his sorrows in alcohol and one evening is seduced by a beautiful Ukrainian prostitute in her mid-twenties, Larisa alias Tash who drugs him, steals his wallet containing his credit card and ID, which eventually are used to by someone who may be connected to the Russian mafia to purchase a sniper's rifle. Who and why was the rifle was purchased is to become an important element in the story?

Talanov, determined to recover his ID, returns to the bar where Larisa had picked him up. At the bar he becomes embroiled in a brawl landing him in the hospital with multiple injuries. Talanov escapes from the hospital with the help of Larisa before the police have a chance to question him for possibly being involved in human trafficking and drugs. Larisa turns out to be not as bad as she is first perceived and returns Talanov's wallet to him. He learns that she is part of a ring controlled by the Mafia and was forced into prostitution. The two fall in love and I don't intend to give away how this is to pan out.

Another bizarre twist occurs when a Russian Federal Security Service agent, Ilya Filishkin shows up on Talanov's doorstep claiming that he knows who murdered his wife and points a figure at an assassin called Connor Jax who is connected with the American Government. In addition, the gun shop owner where the sniper's rifle was purchased positively identifies Talanov as being the person whom he sold the rifle. Thrown into this jigsaw of events is congresswoman, Diane Gustaves who believes that Talanov can help in closing down illicit Mafia activities. However, not everyone of the law enforcement team including the CIA are on board with her. Recruiting Talanov is left up to an undercover agent, Wilcox who was Talanov's handler during the Cold War.

Turner fashions a unique cerebral mystery novel, cleverly avoiding predictability where nothing seems to make any sense. His story-telling grabs the reader and never lets go, as it effectively slices, dices, and splices a few details in with the riveting action and dialogue. Characters are brought to life through their actions and discourse while descriptions are subordinated to the action-something that is essential to a good mystery novel. Most impressive is how he cleverly compels his readers to return to the chess strategy that I previously mentioned where the plot draws its energies.

This novel will be a gift, fit for connoisseurs of fine mystery writing with its plot control, pacing, and overall style-something to savor and enjoy while readers tag along for quite a mind-blowing ride. And the more you think about the plot, the more it sticks with you. Lets hope there is a sequel in the works.

Follow Here To Read Norm's Interview With James Houston Turner

Follow Here To Purchase Greco's Game