MysteryPeople Pick of the Month: THE LAST MINUTE
SPOILER ALERT: THIS REVIEW MAY GIVE AWAY SOME SECRETS IN JEFF ABBOTT’S PREVIOUS BOOK ADRENALINE
In Adrenaline, Jeff Abbott introduced us to Sam Capra, a betrayed CIA agent and parkour enthusiast, who at the end of the book comes into possession of over thirty bars around the world. The book had characters, dialogue, and action pieces that put Hollywood blockbusters to shame. Abbott now wraps up Capra’s origin in The Last Minute.
Sam’s son is being held by The Nine Suns, an international criminal organization. The group has enough reach to have a plant in the CIA. A young hacker, Jack Ming, has the goods on them. If Sam ever wants to see his son, he must hunt down and kill Ming before the kid goes to The Agency. If that wasn’t enough, the CIA is hounding Jack to turn over his lovely and lethal partner, Milla.
A brilliant stroke in the book is the character of Anna, an expert forger. Anna’s daughter is being held by The Nine Suns, much like Sam’s son. Whatever moral quandaries Sam may have, you know Anna will do whatever it takes to get a job done, which creates yet more problems. She’s a well developed character whose sympathy and shadiness come from the same place.
Abbott puts Sam, Milla, Ming, and Anna through their paces like a master. We bounce from country to country with alliances changing as several plot lines seamlessly converge. He gives us a great parkour/fight scene at a Vegas construction site and a tense confrontation with Sam and Ming in New York. We also get a detestable villain in a mysterious character known as the watcher. One particular threat he gives to Ming’s partner in crime makes you hope this character dies one painful death.
Where Abbott’s talent lies is in giving us just enough realistic detail and humanity to ground the pulp elements. He can bring humor into a situation without diminishing the life and death stakes. He gives Ming a moving history with his parents that becomes a part of the plot. He’s able to describe Sam’s feelings for his son in a way that makes the kid more than a McGuffin.
The Last Minute is a worthy successor to Adrenaline. Jeff Abbott understands that the best way to get the reader flipping pages is to have them care about the people and their plight (and some cool fight scenes don’t hurt). In Sam Capra, he gives us a heroic character with everyman thriller difficulties. I look forward to Capra’s next adventure.
MysteryPeople welcomes Jeff Abbott to BookPeople for The Last Minute Release Party on Monday, July 9 at 7p!