The Bottom Line: James Raven plunges us into a believable, terrifying catastrophe for which there are no easy answers. Random Targets is a fiery thrill ride featuring a hero that you can’t help but root for.
In 2002, the so-called Beltway Snipers – Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad – used a military rifle to spread terror in some 11 U.S. states, killing 17 over a period of three weeks. Even a country that is no stranger to gun violence, the crime spree was remarkable for how random it seemed, sparking fear in mundane activities such as stopping at fueling stations or mowing the grass.
In Random Targets, British Author James Raven has successfully recreated that shattering sense of fear. The book opens as a sniper launches a devastating attack on Britain’s M27 motorway. Amidst 70 mph traffic, a gunman’s savage act causes a pile-up and ensuing pandemonium of epic proportions: “The flames shed light on a scene of utter devastation that spread far back along the westbound carriageway – burnt and broken vehicles; black smoke; mangled steel; shattered glass and hissing radiators.”
Speculation is rampant. Was this a terror attack, or the work of a sick loner avenging some sort of social payback?
Enter Detective Chief Inspector Jeff Temple, a likable widower who, five years after the death of his wife, has only recently begun to put his life back together.
As the authorities pull Temple into the investigation, he makes a shocking crime scene discovery that makes the sniper attack decidedly personal.
Temple’s job doesn’t get any easier. Once the cycle of violence has begun, the pressure to solve it becomes crushing. Even promising clues prove to be cleverly disguised red herrings.
In Jeff Temple, author Raven – who is the author of nine thrillers – has created the sort of working class hero that you’ll want to stay with not only throughout Random Targets, but in the series’ other installments as well.