by Gerry Schmitt is the second
installment in the Afton Tangler series. It features a family
liaison officer who works for the Minneapolis police department.
The beginning of each book starts out with an intense scene,
setting the atmosphere for the rest of the story.
Some may wonder how could a family liaison officer be the
featured character in a thriller. Schmitt does a great job
creating stories that are riveting, but also believable. Most
everyone enjoys playing detective while reading or watching
a TV show, and Afton is no different. The difference is that
in the story she gets to actually play detective, using her
instincts in real life situations.
Schmitt noted, "Afton has all the promising
signs of being a detective. In order to make her one, I would
need to check out the legality of how I could realistically
change her profession. According to most police departments
rules, she would have to be a rookie first and do some time
on the streets. Possibly there might be a special way she
can jump the gun."
The saying if you do not have your health,
you do not have anything springs true in the novel. Leland
Odin made his fortune launching a home shopping network, but
his millions can't save his life. On the list for a heart
transplant, the ailing businessman sees all hope lost when
the helicopter carrying his donor's heart is shot out of the
sky, and the heart flies into a University dorm room.
Enjoying the ability to write big opening
scenes, Schmitt wants those to be "whiz bang acts. I
was going to write this helicopter scene in the first Afton
book but decided to put it in this one instead. I even went
to the University of Minnesota to scout out a location for
where the heart could end up. What I put in about the donor's
heart is based on a woman I knew who had been waiting for
a transplant but never made it. I knew that a heart is only
viable for a certain amount of hours and is only offered to
someone close to the area of where the donor originated."
In close proximity to the attack Afton and
her partner Max Montgomery realizes that the attack has something
to do with wanting Odin dead, and concentrate the investigation
on who wanted him dead and why. Was it family, a business
partner, or someone seeking revenge? As Afton and her partner
get closer to discovering who is behind the horrific crime
scenes, the violence turns personal as she, her family, and
her dog are threatened and assaulted.
In each book of this series, her villains
are very creepy. "I enjoy writing the villain, making
them evil, conniving, greedy, and arrogant. If written well
they should be interesting characters. I always put in some
backstory on them for readers to understand how they become
an antagonist. In this novel, the evildoer, Mom Chao Cherry,
an American, not a Dragon Lady, was dragged to Asia by her
missionary parents who were killed. She was then struck in
an orphanage and became a child sex slave. After escaping
she became a Kingpin in the drug world. I did a lot of research
on Asian criminal organizations and have been to China, Japan,
and Indonesia. I knew these gangs are brutal and make the
Columbians look like Boy Scouts."
leaves nothing to the readers’ imagination regarding
the violence. People should make sure they have some time
when reading this because they will not want to put the book
of other titles in this series