From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In his fourth thriller about reluctant medical hero Dr. Carroll Monks (after 2003's To the Bone
), McMahon pulls off the virtually impossible: he creates a lunatic terrorist adversary so believable that he quickly becomes touchingly real. "Freeboot," as the leader of a band of dedicated, deranged outlaws who live on a secluded tract of land in the mountains of Northern California calls himself, is "a macho speed freak who dominated his followers, made allusions to Machiavelli, and hinted at the grandiose importance that he would enjoy in the eyes of history." Monks gets involved when Freeboot's three-year-old son becomes seriously ill, and the doctor's own long-estranged son—a member of Freeboot's terrorist tribe that's chosen the titular Beatles song as their anthem—suggests kidnapping the medical man to treat the child. The boy turns out to be in a dangerous diabetic condition, and Monks's first chore (aside from staying alive) is to treat his illness and then find a way to get the child to a hospital. Since Freeboot and his followers have actually begun their revolution by killing some leading citizens and scattering their stolen objects among the homeless, the terrorist is ready to sacrifice his child for his cause. Dr. Monks, his son already lost, is equally determined to keep the little boy alive. In McMahon's cool, expert hands, it becomes a duel both fascinating and frighteningly real.
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When a beautiful woman turns up at Dr. Carroll Monks' door, claiming that her car has a flat tire down the road, he somewhat reluctantly accompanies her to the vehicle. We really can't blame him for failing to suspect that he is about to be abducted, and sure enough, Monks is soon spirited away to a backwoods paramilitary community. The leader of the community, a sociopath who calls himself Freeboot, needs Monks to tend to his ailing son. But, when he figures out that Freeboot's refusal to take his son to a hospital means the boy will almost certainly die, Monks hatches a plan to save the boy and himself--or die trying. The Carroll Monks novels--this is the fourth--are crisply written, with plots that make you think and characters who make you want to spend quality time with them. The quick-witted Monks is one of mystery fiction's more original series leads, and this new novel shows that he is a long way away from outstaying his welcome. Bring on the next one! David PittCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved