Saturday, December 27, 2014

Blond Cargo

by John Lansing
Gallery Books     2014
384 pages     Thriller

I am ending the year with a thriller. Jack Bertolino is an ex-cop turned PI who has taken on the job of finding a mob boss's kidnapped daughter. Readers find her right away, in the hands of an Iraqi mobster who is planning to export her to an Iraqi sheik. She's blond and statuesque, apparent just what Iraqi sheiks want as sex slaves. Bertolino figures out quickly who has her as well, but it takes the whole book to actually free her from her captors. 

There apparently are a lot of loose ends to tie up from the first book in the series, The Devil's Necktie, because it takes a long time for the action to begin, but once the plot gets rolling, it is non-stop raids, shootings and killings until the young woman is rescued. In typical form, the best is saved for last, and the final chase scene is absolutely riveting.

The characters in Blond Cargo are well drawn. Apparently the author, John Lansing had a career as a TV writer/producer before studying a real-life New York narcotics cop upon which he based his Jack Bertolino character. Jack Bertolino is very appealing, a Bruce Willis type. He's full of the aches and pains of being a middle-aged man doing a young man's job. He has a college-aged son who causes him worries and an on- and off-again girlfriend who doesn't approve of his current gig. His years as a narcotics detective make him a good hire as a PI, but they also put him in danger a good deal of the time. I also really enjoyed the kidnap victim, Angelica, who is feisty and inventive and is not about to be coerced by her Iraqi captors. 

Blond Cargo is a great diversion. You can read along a little at a time until you reach the last third of the book. Then you better set aside a block of time because there is no stopping until the shoot-it-out conclusion. Loved every nail-biting moment. 

The review in Kirkus Reviews.
John Lansing's website.

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