by Alex Kava – I zoomed through book 7 of the Maggie O’Dell series and not just because it’s a fairly short novel. Actually, there’s a whole lot of quality packed into this story, the bulk of which takes place over a 24-hour period. That 24 hours starts on the Friday after Thanksgiving with a bombing at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The mall is packed with (what some of us consider crazy) people taking part in the now-traditional Black Friday shopping frenzy, and the bombers are college kids who have been lied to about the contents of the backpacks they have agreed to carry through the mall. When two of the three are killed in the explosion, the surviving three realize they have been used and are now probably in danger as “loose ends” that must be tied off, permanently. Then, perhaps to keep them from slacking on any of that, there’s another attack planned for an unknown airport less than 48 hours later. Maggie and the local authorities have to find and protect the surviving kids, figure out what airport is the target, discover who’s behind the plot and prevent the airport bombing. It’s a tall order and one with a high emotional impact, as Maggie’s halfbrother Patrick is one of the surviving college students who was pulled into this horrific plot and who can identify the man who arranged the attacks, but not without putting himself in extreme danger. Oh, and Maggie’s former love interest Nick Morelli plays a big role here, too.
Somehow, Kava keeps all these balls in the air. She has written an engrossing whirlwind of a novel touches on all our secret fears of terrorism (even the domestic kind) disrupting our seemingly safe worlds and lives… and confirmed my inner suspicion that going shopping the day after Turkey Day could be lethal and that airport travel on holiday weekends is a bad idea all around.
Well done, Kava! This one is a solid win. (finished 7/3/11)