Where does one draw the line between loyalty to one's country and loyalty to one's governmental organization? Mike Vetter is faced with the choice and pays for his decision with his life, leaving his brother and an old associate to pick up the pieces.
I have to say, when I initially saw the length of this novel, I was skeptical about much could really lie within less than three thousand Kindle locations. Color me surprised, then, when Esmont delivered a hard, driven story with a complex conspiracy and an unexpected emotional range.
This novel had me constantly agitated, afraid for the fates of various characters as rogue CIA agents set about eliminating obstacles to their nefarious plot. The amount of information gleaned from simple communications was astounding but surprisingly believable, and I found myself eying my cell phone suspiciously as I read, wondering if so simple a device would be the means by which Kurt and Amanda got caught. Was it? I'm not telling.
Unlike many a thriller, Esmont delves into the tender side of his main character without forcing it. Kurt's initial homecoming was gut-wrenching despite its brevity, with a palpable sense of loss and despair. It made it easier to connect to him, something that becomes incredibly important when the protagonist is too busy running from killers to worry about forging a relationship with the reader.
In spite of his skillful use of words, however, the author does seem to struggle with semicolons and commas, as well as quotation marks, and occasional redundancy. The punctuation tended to be off every so often, which was distracting but thankfully not intolerably so. The overuse of words was sporadic enough to be understandable. Still, a bit more proofing would definitely benefit the text.
I did have some difficulty buying into the emotional connection between Kurt and Amanda, which seemed to switch from reasonable to far too fast, and therefore unbelievable, close to the end of the book. The finale itself was rushed, and the last few pages felt something like riding a go-kart down a steep hill with a very solid (and inappropriately placed) wall at the bottom: one second, you're having a wonderful, freeing ride, and the next, you're smashing into an unyielding surface and wondering what on earth just happened.
The Patriot Paradox is a short but very worthwhile read, and I look forward to more works by this author.
(Review copy provided by the author)