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Nefarious (The Blackwell Files Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Perkins had a wild youth as his mother pursued partying with abandon. Now as adult he squandered his income in similar hedonistic pursuits.
Colonel Drake, in an effort to prevent terrorists escaping their stronghold during the war in Afghanistan just prior to a drone attack, made a tactical mistake in sending in his troops to attack just before the drone attack was due to commence. Several soldiers died. He hid his mistake by blaming a senior. Now he is again hiding the weaponization of a cure for rabies.
Then people start dying and it is up to Alton, the cryptoligist and Mallory, the FBI agent, to combine their talents to uncover a web of conspiracy.
I quite enjoyed this suspense thriller. Happily I also have the next in the series to hand and can continue reading of the exploits of Alton and Mallory.
But the real strength of the story, to me, lies with the characters. Alton Blackwell, the Army Communications Captain whose life is changed after an explosion shatters his leg, is someone I related to immediately. His physical damage is matched by his psychological damage, and I was rooting for him every step of the way as he attempted to navigate through circumstances he never thought he would have to face. Along the way he meets Lieutenant Mallory Wilson and together they uncover a dangerous conspiracy while at the same time developing a strong personal bond. It is this bond that is the most engaging aspect of the novel, and with the promise of a series arising from Nefarious, it is a bond I hope will continue to develop. I will certainly be reading.
I really enjoyed this one.
There were a number of things I loved about the book. I was intrigued right off the bat by chapters 1 and 2, which appeared to have absolutely nothing to do with each other. I was thinking "how in the world are these two story snippets going to dovetail?" As I read on through the first half of the book, I found myself really engaged. This was surprising to me as this section of the book involved the military in Afghanistan. I honestly had been preparing to slog through that part to get to the second half where the two stories from chapters 1 and 2 merged; that section was set primarily in Georgia and Washington D.C. Another feature I really loved and which contributed to the fast pacing of the book was the short chapters. There were 317 pages and 69 chapters, which repeatedly lulled me into reading "just one more chapter" before turning out the lights. The protagonist was extremely likable and easy to root for. The villains were indeed nefarious; I got so worked up regarding one of them 20% into the book that I actually sent a Goodreads personal message to Mr. Freeman just to let him know this guy better get his comeuppance or I would not be happy!
The storyline held my attention all the way through. There was no unnecessary prose. The ending unfolded like concentrated orange juice (one could not skim this part), and I was completely, utterly surprised by it. A final feature I liked was the hint of a romance though not enough to put off romance-haters.
I give this book 4.5 stars. The slight knockoff from a 5 star rating is because the good guys were so incredibly smart. Not sure there are people that brilliant. If I am wrong, then this is a 5 star novel. In any event, I see a very bright future for new author Steven F. Freeman.
I highly recommend this book to all mystery/crime/thriller readers, even those who think they won't like it for whatever reason. I plan to read the second, third and fourth books in the Blackwell Files series by the end of summer.