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Baptism by Max Kinnings
Review by Steve Sawicki
Quercus Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781623651022
Date: 04 February 2014 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Ed Mallory can't see, blinded by a grenade in a hostage negotiation gone bad. Over the subsequent years he has honed his other skills and learned a great deal about human behavior. He's going to need it all as he finds himself on the wrong end of a standoff with a psychopath who's stopped a subway full of passengers in the middle of a tunnel. The train's rigged to blow and there's a sniper at the back end. To make matters worse the madman has blown a hole in the tunnel and it's flooding.

The clock is ticking and Mallory has no idea who the guy in the train is or what he wants. To make matters worse, something is not right on his own end of the situation. The higher ups seem unusually interested in the details of what is going on and that's raising red flags.

This a tense, power packed novel that's actually more straight forward than you would imagine. The setting is very unusual, cramped, damp and dangerous. The characters are intriguing and motivated by a number of varying histories, beliefs and values, occasionally conflicting. Not everything is what it seems but that's also a maxim for human beings and Max Kinnings plays that for all it's worth.

This was a fun read, full of mystery, complex plotting and intrigue. That Kinnings makes the whole thing work in such a tight space speaks to his skilled writing and, no doubt, some fine editing. Definitely recommended. Had me always wanting to read more and that's very rare these days.

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