When the praise on the cover is from Lee Child ("A Very Talented Author") and James Rollins ("...is pushing to new heights of storytelling"), I knew I had to read it. I didn't begin with the first book in the series, just grabbed the one starring at me in the book aisle of the grocery store. Find out how this new-to-me author ranks.
Copyright: December 2013 (Harper) 416 pgs
Series: 5th in Sidney Fitzpatrick Thriller series
Sensuality: Some medium violence, some mild reference to sexual attraction, occasional swearing
Mystery Sub-genre: Thriller, Intrigue
Main Characters: FBI Special Agent Sydney Fitzpatrick and forensic artist
Setting: Modern day, San Francisco, Italy, Washington DC
Obtained Through: Personal purchase
I had not read the prior books in the series, and although there are references to the book just prior to this one, I had no trouble following this story and where it picks up. Agent Sydney Fitzpatrick had recovered a "code" called the Devil's Code that her father had helped steal twenty years prior in the previous book. She was supposed to have turned over everything she recovered to a covert U.S. agency called ATLAS. Even though she has begun dating ATLAS's Agent Griffin, she makes a copy of the code on an FBI copier.
That copier is scrapped as old and an enterprising man snatches up a block of older copiers to refurbish and sell. Said enterprising man finds the code on the copier's hard-drive and makes the mistake of using his computer to research the code. This repairman thought he was smart and had his friend Piper with an eidetic memory read the numbers so they will never be lost. Except he is murdered and Agent Griffin barely gets Piper out alive. The rest of the book is a race to keep Piper alive, since she also saw the man who is hunting the code ruthlessly, a man who is a corrupt government official. The code grants the user tremendous world-wide power and he will kill anybody to get it. He issues his own kill order on Piper. Can the code really bring nation's to their knees? If this code is in the wrong hands, can it start World War III?
Sydney a great character, dealing with the truth about her thief father who and not sure about dating Griffin. Zachary Griffin, ATLAS agent, is walking a fine line with Sydney and he fears he will loose her before they have begun when she discovers his original orders in the prior book were to kill her. He risks his career for her and the reader suspects he isn't honest with himself about his feelings. Piper is the orphaned twenty year old who is quite literally swept up in events. She makes some serious mistakes, but ultimately she is surprised to find people trying to save her. Tex, a fellow ATLAS agent to Griffin who understands people more than you might ever guess. ATLAS Agents Lisette and Marc are great additions. Lisette befriends Piper and is the breakout memorable character. I hope she is featured more in future books.
The setting of Italy was the best, its Italy after all. But the setting takes a back seat to all the running and hunting. The plot is solid and the concept of such a computer code doing what this purports isn't much of a stretch really. The pace was a good balance between action and quieter scenes that let the reader catch their breath. It kept me turning pages to find out what would happen next. The climax was tense with lots of action and the wrap-up gave a sense of justice--I even let out a whoop.
I like the action and story-line. Piper was a nice mix of scared but determined. I would have liked more scenes from Sydney's viewpoint since she is the main character. I consider any book a success when I am ready to pick another in the series...and I definitely am in this case.
Rating: Excellent - Loved it, it had a good grip on me! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list
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