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Drop By Drop: A Thriller
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Keith Raffel, as he will tell you, has lived in two worlds (actually three, as we will get to in a moment). One was in Silicon Valley, where he worked for a high-tech firm and later was instrumental in setting up another company that was a pioneer in the field of "cloud" computing. His first two novels, DOT DEAD and SMASHER, were heavily informed by those experiences. Raffel's second world is one in which he lived decades ago, a continent across and a world away from Northern California, when he worked in Washington, D.C. for the Senate Intelligence Committee at the elbow of such luminaries as Barry Goldwater, Ted Kennedy and a gentleman named Joseph Biden.

It is this experience that provides the grist for DROP BY DROP, Raffel's latest novel (and an eBook original), which in turn is a manifestation of his third world, where he is one of our smartest contemporary thriller authors.

DROP BY DROP leaves Silicon Valley behind for the academia of Washington, D.C., though it is a precipitous journey for Sam Rockman. A professor at Stanford University, Rockman is content in his job and marriage until a horrific airport bombing leaves him a widower. He wants nothing more or less than revenge upon those who took his wife from him, and when he receives an offer to work for the minority chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he jumps at the chance. The mood of the country matches Rockman's, and there is a movement afoot for a Constitutional amendment to enable the current president, a war hero, to stay in office for a third term to handle the crises at hand.

There is also a legislative move afoot to permit the CIA to operate within the United States. Rockman has the opportunity to assist in shepherding this legislation through the Senate, despite the reluctance of his boss to take so strong a step. When nuclear materials, ostensibly stolen from Russia, are strewn across Interstate 95 in Florida, the call for action becomes even stronger. The fact that Rockman, in spite of himself, is also becoming attracted to Cecilia Plant, his counterpart in the opposing political party, only further complicates matters. Yet Rockman, revenge-minded as he is, finds that things aren't entirely adding up in Washington, especially when top-secret files wind up on his doorstep. And when he and Plant travel to Russia to determine how the nuclear materials unleashed in Florida were stolen, they leave with more questions than they started with.

Meanwhile, the country marches toward major changes that could affect it far beyond the current crisis. Rockman is faced with a choice: Should he go with the flow, which may well provide him with the revenge he seeks? Or should be stand athwart history yelling halt? A series of explosive events mark the book's conclusion, making it one of this year's more interesting offerings in the thriller genre.

DROP BY DROP, as with Raffel's previous novels, offers a generous mix of interesting characters and complex, smartly-navigated plotting that result in a fast-paced read and satisfying ending. With regard to the characters, Plant almost steals the book from Rockman; if Raffel would see fit to bring her back in a future work, I certainly wouldn't object. Those who loved Raffel's prior excursions into Silicon Valley will find his treatment of Washington, D.C. enjoyable and worthwhile as well.

--- Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle Edition
I had this book on my Kindle for quite a while but finally got around to reading it. The jacket info sounded interesting and I was looking forward to it. Now one thing I need to point out is that the book is written by Keith Raffel, an American who has worked for the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee. IT was read by me, a bog standard British woman. The reason I point this out is that if you struggle with American Politics, you may struggle with the initial concept of the book. However, don't let it faze you; I am certainly glad I persevered.

In the beginning we meet Sam Rockman and his wife Rachel as they prepare to drive to the airport where Rachel is leaving for a trip. The worst imaginable happens and Sam Rockman's wife becomes a victim in the war against terrorism. Whilst Sam is struggling to come to terms with the loss of his wife, he is given the opportunity to work for the Senate Intelligence Committee. Sam takes up the offer and before long; the reader is taken into the crazy world of Politics in Washington D.C. At this point I loved the book, the writing was great but I soon realised it wasn't that straightforward.

I am certainly not a stupid girl, however I have to be honest and say that American Politics are not my strong point. I found that at one point, I had to go back and check which character was doing what. I didn't let this put me off and carried on and without realising it before too long I had got to grips with who did what and for whom. Sometimes the wording of something would throw me slightly and I had to be careful that I didn't skim over if I wasn't sure, (a habit I am terrible with).

At around the halfway point I realised that I actually really liked this political thriller. Sam was a great character and one that I would love to see again. In addition to him, Cecilia Plant turned out to be a lady I would also love to read some more of. There was plenty going on throughout the story and it keeps the interest of the reader especially with the very real threats presented to a country. Towards the last quarter of the book, the pace really picked up and I read the last part incredibly quickly. The ending was great and I realised how much I had enjoyed the book once I had finished.

Overall, I really would recommend this book, especially to those who enjoy Political Thrillers. Just be warned, that if you aren't that au-fait with American Politics than it may take a little time to get into. Now I will look forward to future books by Keith Raffel.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Drop by Drop is truly an amazing thriller that gets you were it counts - your gut. Mine was twisted in knots as I read through the pages with a speed like I've never seen before. Keith Raffel, the author, knows how to bait his hook to keep reeling you in until you realize you're finished with the book.

The emotions of the main character, Stanford professor Sam Rockman, was dynamic and well written. For some of the emotions he goes through after the death of his wife may make you cry. I sniffed a few times.

However, it wasn't the chilling emotions that kept me hooked it was the plot itself. It was full of twists and turns. I never could guess what was going to happen next and that's a good thing. If I figure out who has done what halfway through the book I'm no longer interested in the story.

I also like the fact it's a political thriller. I haven't read many thrillers that deals with fictional politicians and Keith made them seem so real. He had me thinking about so many things after reading his work.

This is a MUST read thriller that will keep you on the edge of suspense.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Raffel makes good use of his own Washington experience as counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee to write a twisty thriller that makes us feel like a Beltway insider. A college professor, bent on revenge after his wife's death in a terrorist attack, is drawn to support a gung-ho president. But neither the good guys nor the bad guys are necessarily what they seem. Recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2011
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I tend to read samples first, and don't always continue to buy the book to read the rest. With DROP BY DROP, I finished the sample and clicked 'buy' immediately--a virtual page-turner!

The writing, the story, the tension, the sense of place were all very good but two things in particular made this book a great read for me. First, Raffel walked a very fine line with Sam, motivating him to go against his principles and to deal with his attraction to Cecilia-and both Sam and the author succeeded. I could sympathize with Sam, although I sometimes wanted to shout at him, but the whole way I was rooting for him. That was some very nice, and subtle, characterization.

The second element I appreciated was the insider's look at DC. From Keith Raffel's blog I see that he'd lived it, but living something and writing about it both believably and dramatically doesn't always follow. In this case, it did. Fascinating, and somewhat unnerving, to follow the twisting of events by those in power. Drop by drop, indeed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2011
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I have read all there of Keith's books. While I like Drop by Drop the best, I loved all three. Drop by Drop truly is a thriller mixing current events with events you hope never happen. It is also holds an important lesson in civics. Well done Keith.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Madderly-Review

As a reviewer, I am always looking for an author to capture me. After reading Drop By Drop, my only complaint is that Raffel only wrote two previous books. all three of his books captivated me on page one and left me wanting more at the end. His characters are people I would like to invite to dinner, and his plots are interesting and easy to follow. In DROP BY DROP we are drawn in to Sam Rockman's life immediately. He wants revenge for a personal tragedy and accepts an offer to return to Washington D,C. And work for the Senate Intelligence Committee. With the help of a Kentucky Senator and his wife's former rabbi, he tries to exact vengeance while saving the country from more terrorism. With poison, secret documents and nuclear material thrown into the mix, it is definitely difficult to put this book down!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Keith Raffel's third book, Drop by Drop, might even surpass his first two, Dot.Dead and Smasher. In all three, he weaves tight plots that leave you guessing, and this one was the most puzzling. The reader gets on this roller coaster at the top of the steepest climb - no waiting - and it's 3g's downhill from the start as the main character emerges from chaos to find more chaos awaiting him. A perfect escape.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2011
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Keith Raffel's skillful plotting and fast pace kept me hitting that page button until I'd finished. Raffel pulls the reader into a world of intrigue populated by characters that come to life on the page. I'll be looking forward to his next release.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This is Keith Raffel's third thriller, and his best. The plot is cleverly constructed and the ending...no, no I am not going to reveal it...is tone perfect. I highly recommend this book and am looking forward to reading #4.
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