Blink of an Eye
Iris and Roy Johansen
reviewed by Lou Jacobs
This is my maiden voyage into the world of Kendra Michaels. Even though this is the 8th in the series penned by the Johansens, this barn-burning thriller adventure can be enjoyed as a standalone. The team of Roy and Iris seamlessly weaves the necessary back story into the yarn.
Kendra is a unique investigator with extensive powers of deduction and observation initially honed by her blindness as a youth and then blossomed with her return of sight by a miraculous new operative procedure. She can assemble the meaning and significance of “bread crumb” clues most people miss. (As an example, she perceives the anesthetic agent, propofol, by the lingering characteristic smell of the soybean extract vehicle). She uses this remarkable skillset to aid both the FBI and the Justice Department.
Superstar singer and songwriter, Delilah Winter, is performing in front of eighteen thousand fans at the famous L.A. Hollywood Bowl. After finishing her act, she walks backstage with the thunderous crowd chanting and cheering for an encore. Nothing happens for several minutes and suddenly the realization hits Kendra that something is wrong. Both Kendra and Jessie Mercado, being close friends with Delilah, are attending the concert. Both rush backstage and witness the telltale signs of an abduction. This initiates only the beginning of non-stop action, filled with car chases, bullets flying, rescue attempts from submerged vehicles, and pursuit by motorcyclists armed with Uzis.
Jessie Mercado has forged a deep friendship with Delilah during her stint as director of her security team. She is a longtime friend of both Kendra and Delilah, and cherishes their friendship. Jessie and Kendra team together to aid the FBI and local police in the investigation of the kidnapping, and search for clues to the identities of the kidnappers and their possible location. Days pass before finally a ransom demand is made. Projected on a twenty-foot wall of a mausoleum in the famous Hollywood Forever Cemetery is the message and demands. “They” request twenty million dollars, in unmarked and consequential bills, in exchange for the release of Delilah with instructions to follow the next morning …. “one mistake and she will be gone in the BLINK OF AN EYE.” This is only the beginning, leading to double-crosses, with elaborate and convoluted instructions orchestrated by the crooks behind the kidnapping.
Multi-billionaire and social media giant, Noah Calderon, steps forward and offers to front the money. He states he has had a previous relationship with Delilah and wants to help, and begins to take part in the investigation and planning for the ransom drop.
The Johansens weave a narrative overflowing with intrigue and mounting tension that escalates into multiple twisty and astonishing reveals that culminates into an exciting denouement. The staccato concise dialogue and pacing results in a propulsive read with the pages flying by. The narrative is peppered with a low-key and unobtrusive romantic angle that will not obviate the enjoyment for a reader not looking for that sort of thing. Tangential, but necessary, is the exploration of the power of the bond of friendship.
The bottom line: Nothing profound here, just pure, simple, unadulterated fun to gobble up like dessert.
Thanks to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for providing an Uncorrected Proof in exchange for an honest review. Excuse me, while I go download some of the earlier Kendra Michaels investigations.