4 out of 4 stars
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Police detectives, Tobe White, and Nick Cooper receive a call to a crime scene in Lawrence. As part of the team that investigates organized crime, they are surprised to be called out to a hostage situation. Everyone at the scene knows the situation is bad because the criminals refuse to negotiate or talk to the police. Instead, someone randomly shoots towards the police every few minutes. Then things go from bad to worse. One of the kidnappers shoots a hostage, Mrs. Chen, which prompts the SWAT Team to open fire, killing four of the criminals. Two propane tank explosions follow, nearly destroying the house. Miraculously, the woman's wounds are not life-threatening, and the other hostages are okay. However, James Chen, the father is missing, and evidence shows he is not alone.
In the remains of the house, the dead kidnappers are not the average run-of-the-mill kidnappers, but all heads of a local crime family. This discovery and that of a tunnel opening hidden in the kitchen floor, lead the police on a desperate search to find and rescue James Chen before he is killed.
With The Easter Make Believers, by Finn Bell, I am impressed with the excellent characterization. Tobe and Nick, our lead detectives throughout the story, are so believable, that by the end, I felt I knew them both personally. I enjoyed the tension, the chase, and the ending, and I felt empathy with the tough choices facing Nick at the end.
Bell has done a masterful job in creating a difficult to put down thriller. The plot is interesting, and the resolution is not what one would expect. Characters are believable, the action is fast, and there are dramatic twists guaranteed to surprise most readers. As fast-paced as The Easter Make Believers is, Bell still manages to give the reader a few breaks to catch their wind before throwing them right back into the whirlwind of the desperate investigation. I would recommend The Easter Make Believers to anyone who likes detective stories, mysteries, or fast action thrillers. The editing is superb, and for me, all this together warrants a 4 out of 4 stars rating.
The part I like least is the suicide of Sylvie, a fellow officer, and how little it seemed to affect Nick and Tobe. Even so, it is believable that one could become so acclimated to death that they could set it aside to deal with (or not) at another time. There are hints and innuendos about why Sylvie took this route, but something concrete would have been nice. Still, overall, The Easter Make Believers is a fun and exciting read.
The Easter Make Believers
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