Friday, February 12, 2016

Deadly Designs, by Nike Chillemi

Deputy Sheriff Dawson Hughes, former Army Ranger, has just returned from a special mission for the mysterious spymaster Janus Agard. But instead of relaxing at Agard's seaside  mansion on Long Island, he is given a new mission. Talk show host Ed Barton explains that his erratic wife, Brianna, has disappeared and has taken their daughter, Jennifer, with her. The wife's disappearance is not unusual, but taking the daughter is. There is also a possible Islamic connection. Barton's station received hate mail after a substitute for him condemned Islamic practices. And Brianna had flirted with two Middle Eastern men at a party. Barton saw them just before Brianna disappeared. So Dawson Hughes receives the mission of working with a private investigations agency to look for the daughter.

The private investigator assigned is Veronica "Ronnie" Ingels, whom Hughes has worked with before. Their cooperation with the local police follows routine, but produces no immediate results. Then Brianna and the sometime male friend with whom she shares marijuana are found dead after being tortured. Evidence leads both to drug trafficking and to an Arabian prince currently living in the U.S. The prince's henchman, Hakim, is openly vicious, but it is uncertain if he is involved with the murder or the daughter's disappearance.

From these complications and as Hughes and Ronnie come under threats to their lives, the author constructs a narrative of increasing tension that builds to an exciting climax and satisfying denouement. The author also presents a meticulously researched variety of technical equipment. The result is an excellent suspense novel that readers will find most entertaining.

Reviewed by Donn Taylor, author of Lightning on a Quiet Night, Rhapsody in Red, etc.

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