When I think of summer action now, my first thought isn’t the Hollywood blockbusters, it’s the latest book in Jeff Abbott’s Sam Capra series. The ex-CIA agent with thirty three bars around the world and a penchant for trouble gives thriller readers the entertainment they crave. With his latest, Downfall, Abbott once again delivers fun reading under the sun.
The plot kicks off with a classic girl-walks-into-a-bar. Actually, she’s being chased into Sam’s SanFransico place by a Russian thug. Sam intervenes and the thug’s dead, the girl’s gone, and several bad guys are gunning for him. He and his alluring and lethal comrade Mila go from frying pan to fryer to whatever’s even hotter than that in a story involving a missing writer, some movers and shakers in business and politics, and a file known as Downfall.
After setting up Sam in Adrenaline and The Last Minute, Abbott is now able to cut loose with Sam without being saddled with an origin story. He gives us a great new villain in Belias, a super hacker who roots for the James Mason character in North By Northwest, He also utilizes Sam’s bars in a fun way as he hops across the country.
The action is stand out. Abbott uses point of view to great effect, as when showing how Sam overpowers a Russian thug who is twice his size. Another fun passage occurs when he uses his parkour skills in a crowded city. Everything is cleanly written and easy to follow, giving the feel of both the adrenaline and danger of each moment.
Downfall is smart, unpretentious, escapist fun. It gives us a lead both human and heroic with incredible action you never question. I can’t wait for next summer.
Abbott speaks about and signs Downfall here at BookPeople tonight at 7pm. Copies of Downfall are available on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.