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by T. Jefferson Parker
G.P. Putnam's Sons, August 2018
304 pages
ISBN: 0735212694

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In T. Jefferson Parker's SWIFT VENGEANCE, detective Roland Ford, a former marine, takes on a case that awakens demons from his own military past. Lindsey Rakes, ex-Air Force drone operator, seeks his help in dealing with horrific threats on her life, specifically beheading, from someone who calls himself Caliphornia. Rakes is no longer involved in drone manipulation and is in the midst of a vicious custody battle for her son. She is wary of doing anything that might jeopardize her chances for keeping her child. That is why she employs Ford instead of going to the police with the threats. She also rents a cabin on Ford's property, a compound that he inherited from his wife when she died in a plane crash.

The threats seem real, especially when one of the two other drone operators she had worked with is murdered in a gruesome fashion. Ford, whose talent is tracking people down, figures out that it must be related to her drone work, and investigates those who were killed when a particular drone strike went tragically wrong. The victims were doctors and hospital personnel who rushed out to help someone—the real drone target—when his motorcycle crashed. One specific victim stands out, and when Ford discovers his relatives living in the LA area, the chase is on. Ford works with special agent Joan Taucher from the San Diego Terrorism Task Force, so he has access to information that can help in his search.

Parker's insights are thought provoking and his characters are complex. PTSD from combat in the Middle East is familiar to most of us from the media. However, the affect that operating drones and killing from a distance has on the persons who do this for the military is something that we have perhaps overlooked. Rakes had to drowned her horrors of the job with drinking too much. She had to stop doing the job before she could get sober, and she needed to get sober to have custody of her son. SWIFT VENGEANCE is a mystery that you will find hard to put down.

§ Anne Corey is a writer, poet, teacher and botanical artist in New York's Hudson Valley.

Reviewed by Anne Corey, August 2018

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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