Jonny Maxwell is a rapist, a murderer, and a thief who cuts a bloody swath across the Midwest after a breakout from Leavenworth. But he's also an ex- operative for Dominance Rain, an ultra-secret special ops team spawned by the CIA and the Defense Department. Pursuing him are Minnesota state and local cops, the Fugitive Investigative Strike Team, a supercharged cadre of U.S. marshals, and Dale Miller, his Rain teammate and formerly his best friend, who's been assigned to bring him in. Jonny's smart, tough, and ruthless, and Marcus Wynne's debut thriller, while short on narrative coherence, nuance, and character development, is long on weaponry, explosives, and testosterone. It's your basic chase movie dressed up as a thriller, and while the outcome is never in doubt, there are enough eviscerated bodies and exploding booby traps to keep the action moving until the last paragraph. Wynne throws in a little subplot involving a romance between a trash-talking Minneapolis lady detective and the taciturn hero trailing the man who taught him his tradecraft, but it hardly matters to the lovers or the reader. --Jane Adams
From Publishers Weekly
The love of pure violence fuels Wynne's breathless first thriller, populated by characters for whom bloodshed is a way of life. These people are not all criminals; they are athletes, police and soldiers who seek and thrive on a violent lifestyle, perpetually in danger of crossing the fine line between sane and psychopathic behavior. Jonny Maxwell, once the mastermind of the Defense Department's Special Operations Command, was a spy, infiltrator and killer virtually a one-man army who loved every minute of his high-risk adventures. Jonny, unfortunately, had one serious flaw: he was insane, a serial rapist who used his skills to avoid detection for years. When his partner/protg and only friend, Dale Miller, learned the truth about him, his testimony sent Jonny to prison. But at the start of the novel, Jonny has escaped. It is assumed he will either flee the country and join a mercenary army or use his talents to embark on a life of crime, and Dale is assigned to "bring him down." Navely, Dale interprets this to mean he must return Jonny to prison, but his superiors want Jonny killed. Wynne keeps technical detail about secret operations and weaponry to a necessary minimum, avoiding techno-babble, and his characters are well drawn particularly Jonny, who is a formidable villain without ever becoming a caricature. At the heart of this thoughtful thriller is a compelling question: why does a man go bad? Intelligent in content and competent in execution, this is a most suspenseful and entertaining tale. (Sept. 26)Forecast: This strong first thriller comes complete with a blurb from Stephen Coonts and the stamp of authenticity conferred by Wynne's experience as a paratrooper and counter-terrorism instructor sales should be healthy.
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