If the startling opening sentence of this thriller doesn't grip you, then there's a chance you may be too jaded in life. George C. Chesbro's THE KEEPER introduces a strong and complex protagonist in Jahli "Jade" Aden, a Palestinian-American U.S. Navy Captain and undercover operative who is drummed out of the military for her actions against a friendly during Desert Storm. But because her actions took place under very mitigating circumstances, she walks away under the cover of an honorable discharge and with a sweet pension package.
Two years later, Jade's military past comes back to bite her. Now working as the Riverkeeper of the idyllic riverfront town of Cairn-on-the-Hudson, New York, she one day gets a call from her fisherman boss, Jack Trex, who had just netted a dead sea lion strapped with a mine. Jade instantly recognizes this catch of the day as a resurfacing of a defunct top secret military project. She starts to get that nervous feeling, even as she advises her boss to report his findings to the authorities. It turns out to be bad advice. Because, soon enough, Jade finds herself neck deep in explosions and fatalities, cover-ups and deep-ranging conspiracies, trained assassins and an old enemy with a score to settle. Good thing she's got the training to give as much as she gets.
Jade is your basic no-nonsense, uber-deadly espionage agent who can stomp on the bad guys with the best of 'em. But what gives her added depth and dimension is her fractured personal life. This, along with her ethnicity, are two elements which lend her an air of vulnerability and go a ways in humanizing her. Jade is a Palestinian-American, whose husband (now dead for some years) was of Jewish descent. There's conflict there with regards to both sets of disapproving parents, with both of whom Jade had long ago fallen out of contact. Jade is a widowed mom raising two troubled children, a teenaged son with a slight mental disability who gets bullied in school and a daughter who is dangerously near to being a religious zealot. THE KEEPER finds Jade striving to balance her tumultuous family life with her forced return to espionage.
It's too bad that THE KEEPER seems fated to be a stand-alone novel as I wouldn't mind at all reading more about Jade Aden, aka "Gemstone." This seems a good chance for author George C. Chesbro to branch out from his Mongo series, which, don't get it twisted, is pretty dang awesome (The stunning
The Beasts of Valhalla
very much counts as a particular favorite of mine). It's not just that Jade is a great character. It's also that her supporting cast is so interesting, from her kids, Max, Jr. and Fatima, to the mysterious Uncle Moshe to the world-weary but very gutsy cop detective Roy Mannes. Boy, is this guy gutsy! There's a shark attack scene near the end where... well, I won't say.
Our heroine leaves an indelible impression. There are no frills with Jade, who is beautiful but tough and very pragmatic. There's a passage, brief enough but wrenching, which has her baldly describing to Roy the things she's had to do as a spy. And you can't help but feel for her as she tries but ever fails to connect with her daughter.
Chesbro excels in describing crunching action sequences, but he's got a lot more going on than that. Chesbro writes fully realized characters and places them in emotionally-taut situations which then force you to flip the pages faster. And, in these post-9/11 days, Chesbro also throws in a cautionary statement regarding the dangers of blind patriotism. At 257 pages, there's not much fat in this intense thriller. It's lean and mean and moody and lovely. Like its heroine.
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The Keeper Kindle Edition
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- ASIN : B07JBMFJP7
- Publisher : mysteriouspress.com (9 November 2018)
- Language : English
- File size : 2714 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Not Enabled
- Print length : 280 pages
- Customer Reviews:
4 out of 5
1 global rating