Short Takes

Short Takes: Book reviews, in brief

February 23, 2013 

Fiction

Airtight

David Rosenfelt, Minotaur Books, 304 pages

The brutal death of a judge opens “Airtight,” David Rosenfelt’s latest tale of mystery, family dynamics and paranoia.

New Jersey police officer Luke Somers gets the case, and a suspect quickly becomes apparent. Somers and his partner arrive at the home of Steven Gallagher and find him holding a gun. Somers opens fire and kills him. Evidence shows that Gallagher killed the judge, so the case is closed.

Chris Gallagher doesn’t believe that his brother killed the judge. He decides to force Somers to continue the investigation by kidnapping Somers’ brother. Somers has seven days before his brother, Bryan, who’s locked in an underground bunker, runs out of air.

Somers begins to balance the line between doing his job and ethics. Should he fabricate evidence to save his brother, or was Steven Gallagher innocent?

As the clock ticks, Rosenfelt takes readers on a tight journey that examines the family bond and what a person might do to save a loved one.

The thriller elements are intense, but the introduction of characters from a small town along with the issue of fracking distract from the main story. Even with that minor issue, readers will be waiting to see how airtight the case, and Bryan’s prison, truly are.

Associated Press

Extinction

Mark Alpert, Thomas Dunne Books, 384 pages

A Chinese experiment involving the use of political prisoners and a supercomputer goes horribly wrong in Mark Alpert’s chilling thriller, “Extinction.”

Alpert spins a variant of the Frankenstein monster mythos with the terrifying capabilities of current technology. A computer named Supreme Harmony is linked to the lobotomized minds of test subjects and begins to become self-aware. The test subjects begin to think with one mind, and Supreme Harmony’s first task is to survive by eliminating all threats.

Jim Pierce specializes in designing high-tech prosthetics for wounded veterans. A man arrives at his home and demands to know the whereabouts of Pierce’s daughter, Layla. She’s a hacker, and she’s accidentally downloaded material that reveals Supreme Harmony’s existence and plans. Pierce will do anything to save his daughter, but it’s not as simple as finding the bad guy and stopping him. He has to fight technology, and he must use his wits and cunning while staying away from the modern conveniences the digital age has created.

Alpert does a superb job of balancing the action and the science. He’s delivered his best book to date, and comparisons to Michael Crichton are warranted.

Associated Press

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