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Thursday, April 16, 2015


5 stars out of 5

On occasion, an author will offer me a free copy of his or her book on the condition that I share my opinion of it (for better or worse). Quite often, I respectfully decline - mostly because the topic just doesn't interest me much and partly because, as the saying goes, too many books, too little time. But when Mr. Sagnier offered this one, he made a strong case for saying yes; the book description and his writing creds gave the push I needed to say bring it on. 

At the outset, I worried a bit as new characters were introduced one after the other. There's nothing much wrong with that from a writing standpoint, but the fact that I'm old and have trouble remembering why I'm suddenly standing in the middle of the kitchen (coupled with having to put any book down for sometimes a whole day because life interfered) means it's really, really hard for me to pick up where I left off. That said, by the time I'd finished the first eight chapters or so, things (and people) started to come together - and I was hooked.

The plot begins with a drug theft and the search for Josie, a recovering crack addict who's gone missing. The main character, Colin - himself a recovering alcoholic - is asked to help by the young woman's mother (who also happens to be Colin's girlfriend). Colin brings in his friend Joe, a policeman, and meets Mamadou, a former police officer in Senegal who now drives a limousine in Washington, D.C., and has an agenda for revenge against whoever caused the death of his daughter. 

Fairly early on, it's learned that Josie's boyfriend, Herbie, stole a rather large amount of drugs and paid for it with his life. Now Josie's life may be in danger because the baddies - led by a guy known as the Zulu - think she knows where Herbie stashed the drugs. There's more action on the high seas involving a couple of enterprising young women traveling on a cruise ship, on which passengers suddenly become almost deathly ill for no apparent reason.

There's plenty of action, of course, as Colin, Joe and Mamadou follow the trail mostly through the streets of the nation's capital city, that will lead to finding Josie alive and returning her to her frantic mother. Along the way, readers get to know most of the characters inside and out. Honestly, I can't say I found anyone to be all that likable (even Colin) simply because, I suppose, they're all flawed - some more than others. When one or two bite the dust (no, I won't reveal who, but this is a thriller, after all), let's just say I wasn't crushed. 

The writing, BTW, is outstanding; I might quibble over a couple of run-on sentences, perhaps, but overall, the author has more than proved his talent for turning a phrase (or thousands). I did notice an issue I assume to be a result of the Kindle format - in more than one spot, chapter headings were missing (meaning the text from Chapter 7 continued nonstop to Chapter 10 with no 8 or 9 in between). That was a bit bothersome to me simply because except in an emergency, I refuse to put any book down until I've reached a new chapter; I kept wondering why some chapters were like the Energizer Bunny - going and going and going - while my long-suffering husband kept waiting for me to reach a stopping point and start dinner.

Now that I've finished the book (and we've finally finished dinner), I'm happy to give it a thumbs up. In the acknowledgements, the author says that writing is "the only endeavor where I refuse to indulge in false modesty. I think I'm pretty good."

That you are, Mr. Sagnier - that you are. 

Thirst by Thierry Sagnier (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, March 2015); 252 pp.

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