Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Book Review: "The Short Drop" by Matthew FitzSimmons

I was able to read this book through Amazon's Kindle First program. Thanks to Amazon and Thomas & Mercer for making it available!

My dad was a pretty voracious reader, and he particularly liked thrillers—Michael Connelly, Lee Child, John Sandford, and Dennis Lehane were among his favorite authors. Whenever I'd read a great book in this genre, especially when it was by a new author or one even I'd never heard of, I always would mention it to him and encourage him to read it. Although he passed away about 18 months ago, I still think of him when I read a great thriller, and wish he was around so I can pass on some more recommendations.

Boy, he would have loved Matthew FitzSimmons' The Short Drop, and I did, too. It's honestly been a while since I've gotten totally immersed in a book like this, one that left me breathlessly turning pages and wishing that the phone wouldn't ring during lunch so I could see how the book ended. It has some great action, characters that are much more complex than they appear on the surface (although some are just what you'd expect), and there's even a few twists I didn't see coming.

Ten years ago, 14-year-old Suzanne Lombard disappeared from her home. By all accounts, it appeared she ran away to meet a mystery boyfriend, although her trail quickly went cold. Suzanne wasn't just any runaway, however—at the time of her disappearance, her father was a U.S. senator, and his political star rose as his family grieved for their missing daughter.

Gibson Vaughn was the son of Benjamin Lombard's trusted chief of staff, and he was in essence an older brother to Suzanne. They were tremendously close, until a scandal rocked the Vaughn family, leading to tragedy, and sending Gibson to the Marines, where his legendary hacking skills were put to good use.

As the 10th anniversary of Suzanne's disappearance draws closer, Benjamin Lombard, now the vice-president, is expected to become the next President of the United States. At the same time, Lombard's former security chief asks Gibson, a former nemesis, to help him with a covert investigation into Suzanne's disappearance. It's not long before Gibson helps uncover a tangled web of secrets that have the potential to destroy many lives—and put the lives of Gibson and his investigative partners at risk, not to mention force him to relive emotional moments from his past that he tried to forget.

I found this book utterly compelling from start to finish. I tend to get irritated when the villains in thrillers are all-seeing, all-knowing, and always one step ahead of the protagonists, but it is a testament to FitzSimmons' storytelling ability that I wasn't bothered when that happened in this book. You don't know who to trust, and my head was spinning with possibilities about where the plot would go. Sure, you may have to suspend a little disbelief here and there, but I bought the story hook, line, and sinker.

If you're a fan of taut thrillers with at least a little bit of emotional complexity, get yourself a copy of The Short Drop. I can't believe this is FitzSimmons' first book; I definitely can't wait to see what's next for him.

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