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by Jess Lourey
Midnight Ink, September 2018
384 pages
ISBN: 0738757551

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Salem Wiley, an agent with the FBI's covert Cipher Bureau, is sent to London to help protect U.S. President Gina Hayes at the International Climate Change Summit—decoding any threats in advance of the summit.

But almost immediately, she is sent to Ireland, following up on a tip that Hayes will be assassinated. There, she meets a woman, a mystical sort, who shows Salem a small replica of Stonehenge—with an extra stone that has the word "mercy" carved into it.

Then Mercy Mayfair, a seven-year-old child whom Salem had grown close to, is kidnapped by the shadowy group known as the Hermitage. In exchange for Mercy, they want Salem to break the code of Stonehenge.

As if that weren't enough—protecting the president, saving a young girl, solving the age-old mystery of Stonehenge, and battling her own anxieties—Salem is asked to find a code created by Rosalind Franklin (a real-life English chemist who helped unravel the genetic code). Another group believes Franklin had discovered a way to regenerate spinal tissue but hid the clues for fear that, as she put it in her diary, "the men will take this, too, from me." Since Salem's best friend, Bel, is in a wheelchair, Salem readily agrees.

The plots all eventually converge, with a strong woman-focused storyline. Although the beginning of the novel is a little complicated and busy, the thriller finds its footing soon enough as it races to a conclusion. Plus, the descriptions of Salem's travels—Ireland, London, and the Orkney Islands—were enough to make me want to travel to the UK again, this time with a stop at Stonehenge.

§ Lourdes Venard is an independent editor who divides her time between New York and Maui.

Reviewed by Lourdes Venard, October 2018

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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