Trader of Secrets (Paul Madriani)
by Steve Martini
Review by Linda Marie Schumacher
Harper Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780061930249
Date: 27 December 2011 List Price $9.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /
Steve Martini's lead character, Paul Madriani is the Indiana Jones of lawyers. Madriani and his partner, Harry Hinds, have been stalked for two years by the hit man Liquida. Also known as the ‘Mexicutioner", Liquida is the master of hit men. Trader of Secrets is the third of a series of novels featuring him (don't worry there is plenty of background information to follow the plot if you missed the first two).
Liquida is ruthless, thorough, and completely elusive of any law enforcement authorities. His favorite killing method is by stiletto, because it is close and personal. Madriani foiled one of Liquida's previous plots to set off a bomb at North Island Naval Air Station in California, and Liquida has been stalking Madriani, his law partner, and his daughter Sarah ever since.
Trader of Secrets begins as Madriani's investigator and close friend, Herman Diggs, is recovering from a brutal knife wound inflicted by Liquida at the end of the last novel. Hermann is tough and he survives, although Liquida was certain such a brutal wound had killed him. Hermann is also crafty, and managed to wound Liquida during the fight.
A wounded Liquida seeks out Madriani's daughter Sarah. Madriani and his contacts at the FBI had sent her to an aunt's home in rural Ohio, where everyone thought she was safe. They were wrong, and Liquida finds her and almost kills her. After that attack, Madriani and Hinds realize that their lives will never return to normal as long as Liquida is free and they set off on a chase to help the FBI find him.
The new plot line of Trader of Secrets is two NASA scientists that have gone rogue and have sold a new weapons system to a foreign government. The type of weapon and its buyer is very suspenseful as the details are not revealed until late in the book. Of course Liquida is involved in this plot too. Liquida does a lot of work for the notorious black market weapons dealer Bruno, and Bruno needs Liquida to kill off the two NASA scientists after the weapon system is installed and operating.
The chase for Liquida sends Madriani, Hinds and Jocelyn, Madriani's girlfriend, to Thailand and Paris. Without realizing it, they also provide some help to the FBI to track down the rogue scientists and the weapons systems.
In short, I loved Trader of Secrets. I love Paul Madriani and I wish I could be his neighbor in his hometown of Coronado, CA. My only complaint is that sometimes the plot gets a little predictable. For instance, Madriani, Hinds and Jocelyn find a label from a message service used by Liquida, and it has a series of numbers written on the back. I knew the set of numbers had to be a pass code for something, and they were. The predictability is a small thing and very forgivable. I highly recommend Trader of Secrets and I can't wait to read the next one of Steve Martini's novels! I can't wait to see what adventures Paul Madriani finds in the next book.