3 out of 4 stars
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Maxwell’s Silver Hammer is the fifth book in The Kahler Files series by Eric Safflind. Twenty-nine-year-old Barry Sandler’s life is upturned after saving the life of a distressed damsel whose car inexplicably blows up in the middle of DC traffic. Rescued damsels are supposed to be grateful, but Alexandra Blake is not your typical damsel. It soon becomes clear that someone is out to get either Barry or Alexandra or both of them. Or could the target be Alexandra’s scientist brother, who is working on a secret military defense project?
Iran plans to launch a nuclear missile at Israel, and the United States’ secret weapon appears to have been sabotaged. Ethan Blake, the head scientist in charge of the project cannot seem to make any headway. Are Iranian agents responsible for the sabotage, or could it be someone on the inside? The missile launch window is closing fast, and time is running out.
The book begins with a bang, quite literally, and the pace does not slow down much till the very end. The author’s attention to detail was reflected in the level of research that went into executing this book. It was both riveting and informative. The writing was concise, the story easy to follow, and the dialogue was flawlessly delivered. The characters had depth and were relatable. The romance that eventually blossomed between Barry and Alexandra did not feel rushed for the plot and was entirely believable. The story was more than adequately suspenseful, and there was no guessing who the bad guy was till the big reveal.
One of the things I liked about this book was that even though there were subtle hints at minor plotlines from the previous books in the series, Maxwell’s Silver Hammer can be enjoyed as a standalone novel without missing a beat. The writing was top-notch, delivering an action-packed, fast-paced thriller with laugh-out-loud moments when needed and undeniable cinematic appeal. I also appreciated how the author took his time developing Barry and Alexandra’s relationship. Forces beyond their control may have thrown them together, but that didn’t mean they had to fall in love. At least not right away. This is usually the case with a lot of storylines. I enjoyed their banter, and this, as well as the paranormal and adventure elements in the book, made for a lively and entertaining read. Safflind is an undeniably talented writer, and I look forward to checking out his other works.
On the downside, the book could do with a more animated narrator. It was submitted for review in an audio format. If I had not read the book’s description, I would have been reluctant to accept that I was listening to an action-packed thriller. It took determined focus, and constantly hitting rewind for the better part of the book, to fully grasp the flow of the story. Reading the Kindle sample on Amazon, it was hard to imagine that I was listening to the same book. The flat narration soured my reading experience just a bit.
Maxwell’s Silver Hammer undoubtedly deserves the maximum rating, but considering the flat narration of the audiobook, I am compelled to rate the book 3 out of 4 stars. Due to the strong language and graphic sex scenes, this book is not suitable for children. If you’re into fast-paced and action-packed thrillers with a dash of the paranormal, be sure to check out this book.
The Kahler Files #5 -- Maxwell's Silver Hammer
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