Each scene is perfectly orchestrated, well developed and even defined to fit the event that is being portrayed. The camera is filming but the end result will not be what we expected.
Benjamin Casper is a report for an online paper that he owns and created but what happens to him is right out of an episode of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Finding himself witnessing a murder/suicide of his girlfriend puts him the limelight with some very dangerous people but why? Every step of the way he is being observed and although he is able to escape it’s never unscathed and the end result finds him in various hospitals and confronting many different dangerous groups.
Diana Hotchkill, someone considered close to Ben winds up dead outside of her apartment after Ben manages to install surveillance equipment in her home. Cameras in place, voice activated system completed and installed he leaves before the allotted time and hopes to get some much needed sleep. But, as he is about to go home Diana’s body is flung from the window of her apartment and appears spattered all over the street. Fused to the spot he is standing on, realizing that his prints are all over the scene for some reason he cannot walk away and is determined to find out what really happened. Ben is obsessed with Diana’s suicide and is not convinced that she was not murdered. As authors James Patterson and David Ellis bring to light his love of movies, cars, motorcycles, and songs from the 60’s and 70’s plus as added bonus information about past presidents that he relates to his experiences.
As Ben interviews many people close to the victim he decides to go to her wake and what happens from there sends him into a frenzy. Someone sabotages his plane and he winds up injured in the hospital having to escape from there and heads to his cabin. But, he is not safe there as someone has followed him and breaks in. Running from some unknown force or people he winds up asking his detective friend for help but not before Diana’s brother is killed. Anyone he comes in contact with is in danger and after meeting and talking with her parents he warns him or her not to divulge what he learns from his detective friend.
Diana worked as an assistant to someone in the White House and a liaison for the CIA, which Ben did not know. Upon further investigation and prying into her life he learns about a Chinese billionaire lobbyist that might have ties to Diana. But, someone silences him too and the note left on his laptop when Ben finds him dead is quite revealing.
But, there is much more as Ben is being followed by several different groups, beaten up in the bathroom of an airport and warned to stop asking questions or more people will pay with their lives. Anne Brennan is Diana’s friend and she trusts Ben and hopes to find out what really happened to her friend as we meet another player this time a powerful Russian businessman who made his money in oil in Russia and owns bookstores throughout the world. What was Diana’s relationship to both the Chinese Lobbyist and the Russian still remains to be revealed?
Ben witnessed the death of his mother first hand and every step of the way people seems to remind him of the incident. Did he really kill her? Did he replace the gun in her hand and make it look like suicide? He was 8 at the time and the only person to defend him was his father. Shocked and traumatized he spent the next ten years at home being schooled and not interacting with anyone except his tutors. Flashing back to the incidents and replaying conversations with his father and the police just why did a police lieutenant bring it up now and how did those seeking him out know so much about his past? Is he really being chased or is he playing a role in a movie and orchestrating each scene?
When confronting the Deputy CIA Director about what he thinks really happened to Diana and her real role in all of this he is stonewalled, ridiculed and even mocked. When Ben accuses him of having an affair with Diana the tables are turned but for how long? When Diana’s friend and her parents are threatened will Ben back down or will more bodies be counted?
It gets interesting as we meet several other players. One Russian businessman meets with Ben and the end result is more than just explosive as we learn from his old college professor what Operation Delano means. Just how far will the Russians go to restore their old government? Will they attack the Georgian Republic? Why does his Professor know so much and is the President having an affair with Diana? Did they fake her death and cause someone to take her place? Just how far up does this go as Ben’s finances are frozen the website of his newspaper temporarily under construction and his life on the line just to find out what happened to someone everyone thinks is The Mistress to more than one man. The fear he puts into some quite palpable. The end result has yet to be revealed.
Truths are told, betrayals and lies revealed and a cover up that you won’t believe. Just who was being blackmailed and why? What role did the Chinese play? Wait until the final bullet falls and hits its target.
When Ben faces off with his adversary and with the help of one investigator will he find out the truth, will he reveal the damaging evidence and will he avenge the death of his friend? A President that is about to learn some harsh realities must decide on the fate of our country. A man who has been living more than just a lie handed to him as a child and a terrible injustice and truth comes to light.
Governments will do anything to avoid scandal. Some will cover things up in order to hide what is really happening. What would happen if Russian restored her old regime? Why is China so interested in what happened to the lobbyist and just who is guilty of what and why? A friend that did more than just betray him and President that needs to courage to right so many wrongs. What really happened to Diana? Who was thrown out of the window? What hold did Diana have on someone and what would happen if the information was revealed?
With James Patterson’s flare for the unexpected and David Ellis’s sense of adding some humor to the plot, Ben Casper is a strong-minded character, resourceful, smart and definitely someone he should bring back again. This novel has a definite slant of its own and the two authors present the scenes, the fast paced story and dialogue in a way that will keep readers and reviewers like myself wanting more.
Author David Ellis adds a very interesting flare to this novel with his trivia about many different Presidents, historical events and his knowledge of movies. When the final scene is played and the director yells cut, just who will make it on screen, and who will find themselves the victim of the Mistress?