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The Valley of Shadows
Mark Terry

June 7, 2011/ ISBN 879 1933515946

Reviewed by Dennis Collins

Information gleaned from computer files after an FBI raid on an Al-Qaeda cell in Pakistan reveal plans for terrorist attacks on a presidential election day in the United States. Indications are that operations will be carried out in five major American cities; Washington D.C., New York, Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles. The terrorist leader is an elusive man known simply as ”Kalakar.” A team is formed to try to intercept the operatives. One of the people assigned to the Special Terrorism Activity Response Team (START) is Homeland Security troubleshooter Derek Stillwater.

The first indication of trouble comes when a homeless man accidentally sets off a bomb in Dallas, one of the targeted cities. With only forty-eight hours to unravel the plan, Stillwater starts to see a pattern of diversion seemingly designed to lead the investigation away from the primary target. With the reluctant help of Cassandra O’Reilly, his not so friendly team leader, Stillwater uncovers one confusing clue after another and tries to find a way to tie them all together. The kidnapping of a young girl on her way home from school doesn’t seem to make any sense but it’s just the kind of clue that Stillwater needs.

One of author Mark Terry’s trademarks is non-stop action. You can depend on the body count being at least double digit and the national debt rising just to cover the cost of ammunition. I absolutely love reading Mark Terry’s adventures because they never slow down and this one tops them all. His short chapters allow the reader to jump from scene to scene without ever losing track of the parallel action. But more than that, Terry has developed some extremely vivid characters. Derek Stillwater is a man who puts his country first and protocol somewhere down a ways the list. He isn’t worried about his or anybody else’s career when the enemy is in sight. His motto might just be, “Outta my way, I’m goin’ after this guy.” The Valley of Shadows is an excellent book and one of the best that I’ve read in a very long time.



Reviewed 2011
© 2011