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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Review - The Archangel Project

James Rollins called Graham’s debut thriller, The Archangel Project, “As current as today’s headlines and as disturbing as your darkest nightmare….Riveting, provocative, and enthralling.” But what really had me buy this book was I found out C.S. Harris had written a few thriller books, so I was all over it.

C.S. Graham is the pseudonym of writing team Steven Harris and Candice Proctor. Steven Harris spent twenty-one years as an Army Intelligence officer. He also spent ten years in Washington, D.C., working at the national intelligence level. Candice Proctor is the author of more than a dozen previous novels, including the critically acclaimed Sebastian St. Cyr mystery series published under the name C.S. Harris.

See what you think.

Author: C.S. Graham

Copyright: September 2008 (Harper) 384 pgs

Series: 1st in Jax and Tobie Thriller series

Sensuality: Some action-thriller violence and occasion swearing

Mystery Sub-genre: Thriller

Main Characters: CIA agent Jax Alexander and
remote viewer October (Tobie) Guinness

Setting: Modern day, New Orleans-post Katrina and D.C.

Obtained Through: Personal purchase

Tulane professor Henry Youngblood seeks funding for his remote viewing research project with test subjects from the wrong person. When he has October (Tobie) Guinness do an example of her remote viewing abilities, she sees documents that have just put the professor and herself in mortal danger.  Professor Youngblood is burned in a fire and Tobie is running for her life.  The CIA Director assigns Jax Alexander to investigate the professor's death, intending the assignment to be a punishment.  Jax looks past the local police's assumption that Tobie killed the professor because she was discharged from the military due to PTSD.  Rather, he realizes she is the key to what happened to the professor, but finding her while murderers are on her trail is a challenge.  When they partner and recall the information from her remote viewing session, it takes them on a whirlwind race to stop a devastating large scale domestic terrorist attack.

October (Tobie) Guinness is former military suffering from PTSD who got introduced to the remote viewing program and finds she is a natural.  She is smart, stronger than she thinks, and distrustful.  Agent Jax Alexander comes from money, so he isn't impressed by titles or concerned about his career.  This makes him look at his job differently and that shows in this investigation. Tobie has some friends who try to help her out. Two in particular stand out, Gunner who is a conspiracy guy and Colonel McClintock.  Character development grew as the story progressed but took a backseat to the fast tempo of a thriller.  If I could have asked for anything, it would have been just a bit more character development, but this is a common challenge in thrillers.

The setting is a battered and recovering New Orleans which evoked the aftermath of Katrina well.  One scene occurs in a deserted part of town and gives the sense of a suburban ghost town.  That left an impression.

The plot was interesting and Tobie barely eluding the relentless mercenaries sent after her kept the pace going.  The climax definitely had some good tense moments, but it was resolved a touch too quickly.  The wrap up lays the foundation for more books (which there have been two more with Tobie and Jax).

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. I liked the concept, the overall plot, the remote viewing aspects, and the characters mentioned. I have already purchased the next in the series, The Solomon Effect.

Rating:  Near Perfect - Couldn't Put it down. Buy two copies, one for you and one for a friend. 

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