Into the Fire
Ballantine, Jul 2008, $25.00
Vinh Murphy lived the Marine value of never leaving behind a brother or sister in arms. He took that ethic with him when he left the military and joined Troubleshooters Incorporated as a top gun operative. However, on what was an alleged simple and safe mission, his beloved wife Angelina died in a crossfire. Filled with grief and guilt over her death, he simply vanishes, but holds culpable the neo-Nazi Freedom Network especially its leader Tim Ebersole; everyone who knows him knows he deeply blames Ebersole.
When someone cleverly kills Ebersole, the FBI and even his associates at Troubleshooters assume Murphy is the prime suspect as he has a gut wrenching motive and his skills give him means and opportunities few could achieve to murder the highly protected Ebersole. Fearing a lethal shootout his Troubleshooter friends search for Murphy to persuade him to come in peacefully. Angelina’s best friend former police officer Hannah Whitfield has always loved Vinh, but hid her deep regard from him and from Angelina when she was alive. He seeks her help as he is unsure whether he pulled the trigger or not as he was in an alcoholic stupor; they seek the truth by going INTO THE FIRE of the Freedom Network.
Hannah and Vinh are an interesting pairing because both grieve the loss of Angelina and the guilt of one night of solace together after the woman died. In some ways Hannah is the more complete character as she was forced to retire due to an on the job injury leading to deafness and has hid her love for Vinh; whereas Murphy remains grief stricken although the murder has awakened him from his drunken stupor. With other subplots also in the fire, fans will appreciate this action-packed romantic suspense thriller starring two walking wounded and the rest of the troubleshooters willingly going INTO THE FIRE to prove the innocence of one of them; for once you join this team you remain part of them even after you leave.