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Good As Gone (Simon Fisk Novels) by Douglas Corleone
Cover Artist: Illustration by Silas Manhood; Photos: Street by Charles Bowman /
Getty Images; Eiffel Tower by Mikhail Zahranichny
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Minotaur Books Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781250040800
Date: 03 June 2014 List Price $9.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Read an excerpt / Show Official Info /

Ten years have passed and former U.S. Marshal Simon Fisk is still haunted by the memories of his abducted daughter, Hailey, and his grief-stricken wife, Tasha, who committed suicide. He is now a PI who tracks down children who have been abducted by estranged parents and whisked away to countries that don't recognize U.S. custody laws. While in Paris, Simon is practically forced by Lieutenant Davignon to find the abducted daughter, Lindsay Sorkin, of wealthy American tourists. Risking life and limb, he encounters corrupted police officers, dangerous mobsters, and sexual deviants while racing on his motorcycle from one European country to another in search of Lindsay.

In his writing, former lawyer and best-selling author Douglas Corleone has traded the exotic setting of gorgeous Hawaii for the glitz and glamour of European cities such as Paris and Kiev. Instead of having a carousing, riotous, self-centered defense lawyer, Kevin Corvelli, as a hero, he now focuses his stories on a conscientious PI, Simon Fisk, who is driven by the desire to bring home missing and exploited children; it is not money or sex he craves, but justice. Every time he hears about a missing child, he thinks of Hailey who was never found. He is constantly tormented by her unknown fate. Is Hailey still alive?

Corleone's Good as Gone is as good as it gets in regards to international espionage. Many fans and critics compare Simon Fisk to James Bond and several references in the novel are made to this British spy, one of literature's most famous characters. Whenever Simon is in an ambush, he never gets seriously injured. Bullets, if they do strike him, barely graze his flesh. Like many comic book heroes, he seems indestructible. Perhaps Simon has many angels watching over him, helping him to bring home these missing children. For example, he suffers from a fear of heights but manages to scale a building and jump through a window.

Good as Gone wouldn't be an international thriller if the hero didn't have a beautiful female sidekick. In this case, Simon teams up with a young Polish lawyer, Ana Staszak, whose boss Mikolaz Dabrowski is one of the novel's chief villains. Naturally, Ana is taken hostage and Simon must rescue this damsel in distress. She is a valuable asset during his investigations even though Mr. Macho insists on working alone. (His character changes a lot during the plot.) It isn't long before readers realize that Simon and Ana are developing a strong attraction for each other.

Relying heavily on chance encounters and questioning strangers, Simon has investigative methods that oftentimes seem unrealistic. However, the reader will forgive this because the plot is extremely fast-paced. As Simon hops from Paris, France, to Tiergarten, Germany, to Warsaw, Poland, and beyond, he leaves behind a trail of dead bodies and criminals whose careers have been ruined by his exposure of their evil deeds. All during this time, the reader keeps asking, "Why was six-year-old Lindsay Sorkin specifically targeted for abduction?" Her wealthy father, who designs military defense software, hasn't received a ransom demand. If it isn't for political reasons, perhaps a pedophile wants her?

Douglas Corleone's Kevin Corvelli trilogy ( One Man's Paradise, Night on Fire and Last Lawyer Standing) was excellent. They are great thrillers with spell-binding mysteries.

Good as Gone is an excellent start to a new series. With its international setting, graphic violence, high body count, intriguing mystery, evil villains, likeable hero, beautiful heroine and shocking ending that unnerved me, it is a must have for mystery fans. I can't wait to read the next installment, Payoff, in this child abduction series--a series that reminds me of the Taken films starring Liam Neeson and Maggie Grace.

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