Reviewer Janet Walker: Janet is the author of Colour To Die For, first of the Fee Weston Mystery Series. Janet lives in Australia and when she is not writing about P.I. Fee Weston's fight for truth, justice and a livable cash flow, she writes articles for magazines and fund raises for Australia's wildlife carers - heroes of the bush. For more about Janet and Fee visit Janet's WEBSITE
Author: David Grace
Publisher: Wildside Press
Since 9/11 Homeland Security has been at the top of every western nation’s clipboard – how to keep the bad guys out and foil terrorist plots before they can kill or maim law abiding citizens is a growth industry. What do you do though, if seemingly good guys, who live nearby, are really bad guys with access to automatic weapons and prohibited substances?
Getting in touch with Homeland Security Agent, Greg Kane would certainly help. Greg, the main protagonist in David Grace’s new suspense thriller, Death Never Lies, is charged with the job of finding and stopping malcontents who want to wreak havoc on society.
A former Homicide Detective, Kane, in a shootout in which his partner died was clipped by a bullet. The subsequent mild brain injury he suffered produced in him: a higher degree of investigative perception and a lower degree of tolerance for workplace associates.
A powerhouse crime solver, Kane is unable to find a new partner because of his anti-social attitude. He is asked by the powers-that-be to report for work someplace else.
He joins Homeland Security and is partnered with Grant Eustace, a guy with an ego as big as Texas and a brain the size of a pea. Kane, frustrated by his partner’s attention seeking style gets the investigating done, leaving the paperwork to Eustace.
Writer, David Grace does dialogue and character sketches really well; Kane’s terse conversations with and thoughts about ‘Useless’ (his name for Eustace) are funny and right on the money for a guy who not only doesn’t suffer fools gladly, doesn’t suffer them at all.
There are two story strands in this classy fast paced thriller: the disappearance of an HHS director who was about to issue a new list of prohibited chemicals and the coercion of a Supreme Court Judge with a view to altering his vote in a review of legislation which affects US gun laws.
Agent Kane is contacted by a friend who requests him to investigate the lack of communication by Health and Human Services, Deputy Director Brownstein. Scheduled to review a list of biological agents and toxins to either ban or pass their usage, Brownstein isn’t answering his phone or anything else. Kane gets involved and decides that the Deputy Director has probably been murdered to stop the items up for review being added to the HHS list of hazardous chemicals.
Without a clue as to which of the chemicals on the list might provide a lead to Brownstein’s disappearance or why the importation and sale would be important enough to demand his possible homicide, Kane plunges headfirst into the investigation. He discovers a more than likely link between a cold case: the escape of a federal prisoner two years ago and Brownstein’s no-show.
Kane’s nephew and another officer were transporting the dangerous prisoner when all three vanished. Kane is sure the prisoner, head honcho of an underground terrorist cell, organised his escape – the deaths of the officers, part of the plan. The fate of his nephew, an on-going heartache, Kane’s determined to find how the two cases intersect and solve the mystery behind all the disappearances.
Meanwhile, partner Eustace, thinks that finding leads for the FBI in their investigation of a threat to harm a Supreme Court Judge will improve his chances of promotion. He asks Kane how to go about this. Kane, relieved he can get rid of ‘Useless’ for a while tells him to look into the security risk posed by the judge’s daughter, a former drug user. Eustace sets up surveillance on the daughter but alas, his dreams of promotion don’t come to fruition.
Kane lucks onto an affair with a hot babe who like himself has a flawed past but who cares? The sex is great and nothing or no one is forever. The meets between Kane and the woman who just might turn out to be a soul-mate are well written – the dialogue appropriate, the description steamy.
Kane gets seconded to the FBI to continue Eustace’s aborted investigation. His two investigations intertwine and the heat is on – the story pace increases to can’t-put-down got-to-know-what-happens level as in a hugely exciting conclusion Greg Kane puts his life on the line to make sure the bad guys get what’s coming to them and lay to rest the fate of his nephew and Director Brownstein.
Death Never Lies, David Grace’s fifteenth novel, is great for holiday or any time reading; I liked it a lot.