I have been a fan of Rachel Lee ever since I discovered her Conard County series back in college. Since I’d never read any of her single title releases, I jumped at the chance to review Wildcard, the first in a new series. While this novel is loosely connected to others Lee has written, it is the first in a series of suspense thrillers dealing with a conspiracy theory reminiscent of The Da Vinci Code.
As the novel opens, Presidential frontrunner Grant Lawrence has been shot and seriously wounded. FBI agent Tom Lawton is upset by this news as is his friend and mentor Miriam Anson who, as a friend of Lawrence’s, manages to garner a minor role in the investigation of the assassination attempt. She also convinces her boss to take Tom off suspension and let him work under her supervision.
Tom and Miriam’s investigations take them into the world of anti-government militia groups – most particularly one with some rather interesting connections. As the investigations (both official and unofficial) intensify, Tom, Miriam, and their friends find links to war-torn Guatemala, militia work, and some of America’s elite families that are convoluted and rather disturbing, to say the least. Rather than a simple answer, Tom and his allies begin to believe they may have stumbled on what may be a vast conspiracy with a tradition reaching far beyond the current presidential race. Their discoveries have frightening repercussions and Tom soon finds himself running for his life. To tell more, as the novel’s back cover does, would reveal spoilers, but suffice it to say that the Tom’s adventures are action-packed and full of intricate twists and turns.
Wildcard is basically a straight suspense thriller, so those who must have romance with their suspense may be disappointed. Still, Lee’s characters are likable and the mystery in this tale is so engaging that I flew right through it, even if the varied subplots and frequent flashbacks to the distant past make for the occasional jarring moment. Lee also makes things easier on her readers by including an author’s note explaining the significance of some of her historical information and the conspiracy theory school of history.
The action flows very well throughout the story, but it ends rather abruptly. Normally, I would have been extremely disappointed by this, however, my frustration is tempered in this case by anticipation of Lee’s next release. Even if one does not subscribe to the conspiracy theory school of thinking, all of the connections drawn by Lee in this ambitious thriller are intriguing, and I cannot wait to see what sort of adventures her characters will have in the future.
I enjoy spending as much time as I can between the covers of a book, traveling through time and around the world. When I'm not having adventures with fictional characters, I'm an attorney in Virginia and I love just hanging out with my husband, little man, and the cat who rules our house.