Tuesday, April 13, 2010

RECKLESS - Andrew Gross

FIRST LINE: "'Beep, beep! Beep, beep!' Amir, "Marty" al Bashir's six-year-old son, raced his motorized Formula One model around the dining room table, almost crashing it into Anna, the Lebanese housemaid, as she brought out their Sunday lunch of flatbread and spiced lamb."

Ty Hauck has left his position with the police department to work for the Talon Group covering corporate data security and internal forensics. But when an old friend and her family are brutally murdered, Ty's investigative instincts won't let him leave this case to the authorities. They are writing it off as a botched home invasion. Ty doesn't buy it, and he especially doesn't buy it when the case begins to intersect with a background investigation he's doing for Talon. A "friend" of Talon's has asked for assistance looking into the the man she is dating when she finds discrepancies in his background stories. Ty's investigation collides head first into Treasury Agent, Naomi Blum's investigation of a possible terrorism issue. As Wall Street, and thus the world's economy, appears to be literally imploding, Ty and Naomi discover something "bigger than terrorism":

"''What if there were people on an organized basis...who wanted to do our country systemic harm, ...Not by flying a plane through our tallest buildings, like before, but by driving one figuratively, sir, through the heart of our most vital national asset.'"

Andrew Gross is back with one killer thriller. Not only is this a fast-paced, action-packed plot, it's a complex look at the reality of our vulnerability. I only half-jokingly said while reading it that I was going to go hide my money in my mattress. Gross illustrates how with the right pieces in place, the whole world's economy could be brought to its knees. This isn't a paranormal, I-know-it-can't-happen-to-me plot or a situation that revolves around a bunch of covert spies and the average person is never touched by it. This is a plot that all-too-realistically could touch each and every reader that picks up the book. That's what keeps you glued to the pages. That's what makes a great thriller.

Consistently throughout this Ty Hauck series, Gross has shown a natural aptitude for developing character relationships. This plot element is often overlooked in thrillers as the concentration centers more on the action of the plot. But Gross doesn't let his characters falter. Ty's daughter Jessie never appears (except for a phone call) in this novel, but the strength of their father-daughter bond is as evident as any of the books she features prominently in. A past friendship re-surfaces for Ty in RECKLESS that could have been a disastrous cliché. Instead Gross molds it into a connection so jarringly real, I had to remind myself I was reading fiction.

The final element of RECKLESS that must be noted by me as superb is Gross's female characters. They hold equal footing with his male characters, and he affords them a level of respect that isn't always present in this genre. And that's not to say that they are all equipped with extra testosterone, either. They aren't damsels in distress or unrealistic superheros. They're human, just like his male characters. Male or female, Gross's characters can be smart, funny, emotional, talented, scared, stubborn; there's no gender discrimination on characteristics. Gross introduces Naomi Blum in RECKLESS; the Treasury agent working with Ty is a prime example of this equality in characters. I hope Gross intends on keeping Blum around, as I think she is quickly becoming one of my favorite females of crime fiction.

RECKLESS is out in hardcover (ISBN: 978-0-06-165595-1) April 27th from William Morrow. Don't be reckless and miss this one.

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Anonymous April 13, 2010 at 9:26 AM  

Jen, I haven't read Andrew Gross yet. For some weird reason, I don't read too many male authors. Not sure why. In any case, I like the fact that he does a good job with female characters and will put this on my list.

NancyO April 14, 2010 at 6:43 AM  

He's the guy that co-writes with Patterson, right?

Thanks for the review. My husband loves this stuff so I'll add it to his wishlist.

Unknown February 5, 2011 at 10:03 PM  

I had never heard of this book before, but it definetly sounds like something I would be interested in! Thanks for posting!

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