3 out of 4 stars
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Lieutenant Danny Gallaher survives capture and torture by the North Koreans, barely escaping with his life. After being rescued by a friendly military patrol, Danny has a moment to recover before being called back to the US for a special assignment. Danny’s uncle, who holds a high-ranking position in the Department of Defense, assigns Danny to investigate a series of apparently unrelated yet suspicious suicides of scientists working on highly classified work in the defense field. One of those deaths was Danny’s father. When Danny’s brother followed some of the leads, he also became a victim of the murderer, proving just how dangerous the entire mission will be for Danny. As Danny delves into the mystery, he uncovers connections that were missed by the police and discovers a plot that could change the balance of power worldwide.
From the first few pages of The Advancing Storm by Richard Valletta, intrigue, excitement, and adventure fill the pages of the novel. Valletta keeps the action moving and allows the scenes to flow much the way a great action movie does. With plenty of action and mystery to piece together, readers will stay engaged throughout the story.
While the mysteries primarily surround Danny, other characters have the opportunity to become involved and become major players in the novel. One of the major components of the mystery appeared to be revealed very early in the story, which seemed odd at first. As the story progressed further, I found that Valletta used this early reveal combined with the additional characters quite well. With this technique, Valletta allows the readers to have just enough insight to know for whom to cheer. He also gives the reader just enough information to whet the appetite and keep things interesting without revealing the whole mystery.
Valletta’s fast-paced action also kept me engaged throughout the story. By switching scenes between chapters, Valletta created the feel of a movie as he wrote his novel. As with many action movies, there were a few scenes that seemed somewhat gratuitous to me. One of these in particular was when Danny sleeps with another character. Sadly, this scene had no real bearing on the story. The encounter neither helps nor hinders the progression of the mystery. I would have preferred to see something more come out of this scene or have it deleted entirely.
With strong pacing and an enjoyable storyline, Valletta’s novel earns a solid 3 out of 4 stars from me. Had all of the scenes felt more critical to the progression of the novel, I think I could have given this a perfect score. It was well-edited, exciting, and enjoyable. Readers that enjoy espionage thrillers or mysteries will likely enjoy this one as well. The mystery progressed at just the right rate to keep me interested and included enough action to keep the story exciting.
The Advancing Storm
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