The Bottom Line: An irresistible debut crime thriller from a promising new voice. Highly recommended.
As FBI Special Agent Miles Ronan arrives in Brazil to identify his father’s body, he also hopes to close a dark chapter that has haunted him since he was a boy. Ironic is one way to describe the estranged relationship between Frank Ronan, one of the world’s most wanted criminals, and his son, who has presumably devoted his life to enforcing the law. Miles hopes this is the end of a personal tragedy. Little does he know it will be the beginning of an entirely new path.
Once in Brazil, Miles meets with the local coroner and, rather callously, arranges to have his father cremated. Just as he’s about to leave, the coroner drops a bombshell: Frank had a teenage daughter. But for Miles, meeting Leticia, the sister he never knew, will have to wait. She has disappeared, and it’s up to Miles, who specializes in hostage rescue, to get her back. Along the way, he’ll uncover long-buried secrets that include Nazis, the Mossad and more.
Author Micah Barnett’s narrative alternates between first and third person points of view. Those told in Miles’ voice are particularly compelling. As a character, Miles is constantly filled with both raw emotion and innate curiosity. The timelessness of Miles’ desire to understand his roots and connect with family make for an extremely engrossing debut. But is he fully reliable? Readers can look forward to a bombshell near the end of the book that adds a completely new perspective to his story.
Barnett possesses a special flair for creating a fully believable world, both in Brazil and elsewhere, in which nothing can be taken at face value. Every identity is suspect, every image must be examined for authenticity, and legacies of fraud go back generations. Let’s hope Barnett is already working on his next novel.