BOUND TO DIE
Brian Lutterman's debut novel is a complex but concise political thriller. This is not a genre I generally read, but Mr. Lutterman does such a good job of intertwining his plots, and of creating characters I could believe in and root for, that I may change my mind.
The story begins with Tori McMillan recently widowed, and about to become unemployed, she thinks things can't possibly get worse when they suddenly do. Her recently estranged former best friend inexplicably commits a multiple murder, and then vanishes. Unable to believe her friend would do such a thing, Tori sets out to find some answers. As she does so, she uncovers a group plotting to take over the United States by putting one of its members in the White House. And the group has members everywhere…
Mr. Lutterman's greatest strengths as an author are his characterizations and his ability to deal with multiple points of view and plots lines. Tori is a believably strong and capable woman, but her recent loss has also left her believably vulnerable on a personal level. As a result, her need to figure out what happened to the friend she feels she forgot, as well as her poor judgment in what seems to be a purely personal matter, are plausible. Less focal characters are also well-drawn, and none of them struck me as over the top or hackneyed. Mr. Lutterman also has a good feel for balancing his scene shifts a story with this many characters and a plot this complicated could have easily become incoherent, but the storylines are well-organized and even a novice in the political thriller genre could follow them.
BOUND TO DIE is a promising debut, and Mr. Lutterman does a good job of bringing both his characters and the menace they face to life. I will definitely look out for his next release.
©2003 and beyond by Shelley McKibbon. Not to be used without permission by anyone except the specific author being reviewed.