Murder Among Friends members braved a forecasted storm to revisit author Jeff Abbott through the first book in his latest series – Adrenaline. We first experienced Jeff’s writing in last year’s A Kiss Gone Bad and were especially curious to see if the new series raised the bar yet again for his storytelling. The group has felt that each series Jeff has produced, (and each book in the series) improves as the series progresses. Adrenaline was no exception. One of our members has continued to read the series already, and said that, just like his other series, the next Sam Capra novel is better than this first book in the series.
The group loved the pacing, characters, and plot twists, while finding a couple of situations a bit implausible. There was disagreement in the group about whether or not Sam’s skills and knowledge (speaking multiple languages, deep knowledge of both the streets and the rich, etc.) were believable given his relatively young age (around 27). The majority however, did not feel this was unbelievable, and that a little bit of a “larger than life” aspect to the lead characters is part and parcel with the conventions of the thriller genre in particular. Universally, everyone really liked Sam and felt the twists in his personal life in particular showed that he does have some flaws. It was hard for the group to believe that he really had no suspicions about his situation on the home front. (This however, is also colored by the fact that none of us liked the other party involved!)
We were intrigued by Mila, and liked Midwestern CIA agent, August Holdwine for both his straight-forward commitments to both the CIA and Sam, as well as his instinctive distrust for Lucy Capra. We empathized with Yasmin’s situation and talked about the issue of brainwashing and torture and how these affected not only Yasmin, but Sam and the women taken by human traffickers. Mila’s reactions to the last group was another topic of conversation, and we wondered if we will learn more about Mila’s own past in future books. (The member who has already read ahead only smiled at us mysteriously…) There were multiple characters mentioned for how well the author did creating memorable secondary characters, but one example was Yasmin’s father Bahjat Zaid. He was completely believable as an arrogant, corporate honcho as well as a frightened, vulnerable father trying to get his daughter back. That his concern is also based on his having supreme control over his daughter becomes tragically ironic as her fate plays out within the terrorist group who kidnapped her.
For its overall intensity in both characterization and pacing, we all agreed that Jeff is off to a great start with this classic thriller. Have you read Adrenaline? More discussion is always welcome — if you’ve read the book and would like to leave a comment, please do!