St. Martin’s, Sep 2008, $24.95
DEA Agents Ted Silliman and Castro Baxter are part of a joint workforce with the Las Vegas Police Department investigating the use of the date rape drug “J”; the victims end up in many cases mutilated and dead. Evidence leads to the Fantasy Resort owned by septuagenarian Frankie “The Bayonet” DiBondi, but it makes no sense for him to deal with an illegal relatively minor remittance when his legal brothel brings in a million declared dollars a month and who knows how much of the profit iceberg remains beneath the surface. Still they follow DiBondi onto an Indian Reservation when Ted suddenly goes into convulsions and dies.
The official response is an overdose of cocaine, but Castro rejects it as inane because he knew his partner and knows what a cocaine death looks like. Armed Forces Institute of Pathology Dr. Alex Blake conducts an autopsy and agrees with Castro. She believes Simmons died from his body violently reacting with a hyper-immune response. Soon afterward his corpse disappears and DEA grabs the autopsy results and all related information to the Simmons’ death. Teaming up with Castro, Alex learns of eight other identical deaths on that same night that all tie back to a fountain in a Taos, New Mexico public square. Based on unnamed government sources the media blames Native American radical rights group Red Rights for introducing a new “silent assassin” disease into the drinking water as a widening epidemic seems imminent with new deaths; shockingly Homeland Security chief Martin Kincade demands Blake and Castro back down or else.
This exhilarating conspiratorial thriller will grip readers with the opening prologue when the seemingly healthy but tired Silliman suddenly convulses. The story line is fast-paced and filled with plenty of action and strong characters (including the lead duo) with personal agendas; these protagonists represent real groups goals such as denoting Native American issues and signifying Homeland Security leaderships’ self interest goals. Readers will enjoy the latest AFIP adventure.