Steven F. Freeman’s first book in his Blackwell Files series, Nefarious, starts with a bang, literally. Army Communications Captain and cryptologist, Alton Blackwell, is stationed in Kabul and his leg is severely injured in an explosion. I liked Alton right from the start. He’s intelligent and tough, yet he’s also empathetic and kind. Because of his injury, he’s assigned to a desk job, but he’s still able to use his expertise to foil various Al-Qaeda plots. Freeman takes the reader through some nail-biting scenarios, which of course is fun.
Meanwhile, in America a boy is bitten by a raccoon and has to have rabies shots. This leads his father to want to develop a vaccine that’s more effective and less traumatic. I wondered how in the world Freeman was going to connect the two stories, but he does in an inventive and interesting way.
Blackwell returns stateside, which I think is okay with him because he’s now closer to the lovely Mallory Wilson, whom he had met back in Kabul. He’s asked by an Army friend, who now works for the FBI, to help investigate the biotech firm working on the rabies vaccine. People who work for the biotech firm are dying. Blackwell and friends work to discover why, and begin to put the pieces together that uncover a grand conspiracy. The action intensifies, the body count grows, and it’s questionable as to whether Blackwell will be able to handle the physical challenges because of the limitations of his permanently damaged leg.
I don’t usually read techno thrillers, but this one kept me turning pages. Freeman’s newest book, Havoc, the 4th in his Blackwell series, will be out soon. Keep an eye out for it!
This review was written in exchange for a free copy of the book. Can’t beat that deal!
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