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Search for son turns violent

Sequel packs equal action, suspense

By Diane Makovsky

For The Free Lance-Star

WHEN EX-CIA agent Sam Capra falls off the side of a building, readers feel his pain.  Each violent confrontation in Jeff Abbott’s new thriller, “The Last Minute,” proves the agent to be fearless and indestructible.

But his relentless pursuit of his mission is actually driven by one  weakness—his son—the Achilles’ heel that his enemies know about and don’t hesitate to use against him.

Abbott skillfully builds suspense to create this action-packed adventure, which is the sequel  to “Adrenaline” in his Sam Capra series.  But readers with weak stomachs might think twice about tackling it—the violence is graphic but stays consistent with the tone of the rest of the book.

The plot moves quickly, and Sam is a quirky but likable lead who seems to challenge any  set of rules.  His questionable ethical use of his connections and contacts are the least of it.

Sam’s mission is to find his infant son, who was abducted from the hospital in Paris shortly after his birth.  Sam’s ex-wife, also a CIA agent, lies in a coma after being shot and exposed as a traitor; she was an informant for the international criminal syndicate Novem Soles, or The Nine Suns.

Sam’s history with the CIA is also rocky—he left the agency after being wrongfully accused as a traitor following a Novem Soles bombing.  His son is now being used by Novem Soles to control Sam’s actions and get him to carry out a “hit” on a computer hacker with knowledge that could expose the organization.

Sam finds himself at cross purposes with his old friends at the CIA who want to bring in the hacker alive to find out what he knows.  Further complications develop when Sam is assigned an equally motivated partner, Leonie, whose daughter was also kidnapped by Novem Soles.

The lucrative adoption scheme run as one of Novem Soles’ businesses is an immediate threat to the safety and future of both  children.

As Sam tries to keep Novem Soles at bay by pursuing the hacker and discovering the whereabouts of his son, he’s also aligned with opposing forces determined to bring down the organization.

Sam’s life is in  danger from all sides.  Distinctions between allies and enemies blur and shift and he is forced to make difficult decisions and sacrifices.

Sam  seems like an almost indestructible superhero, but there’s enough reality to keep the story grounded. Fans will want to believe that Sam is capable of defying the odds in his quest to find his son.

Diane Makovsky  is a freelance reviewer in Spotsylvania County.

THE LAST MINUTE

By Jeff Abbott

(Grand Central, $24.99, 480 pp.)

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/books/2012/08/24/search-for-son-turns-violent/

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