Sunday 21 May 2017

Triple Time by C. Kevin Thompson

Triple Time (The Blake Meyer Thriller Series, Book 2)

A Looming Attack. A Loathsome Abduction. A Lethal Assassin. 

Supervisory Special Agent Blake Meyer has an impossible choice to make. After thwarting a massive biological attack on the continental United States, the contagion is still missing and in the hands of the enemy. So is his family. Abducted as an act of revenge.

The clock is ticking, and the chances of finding his wife and children wane with every passing second. The assassin behind it holds all the answers.

Or does she?

Three demands. Three choices.

Blake Meyer knows what must be done...but can he accomplish it before it's too late? Time is literally of the essence. And double time will not be fast enough.

The Guru's Review: 

Mama Mia! Can this series get any better? I reckon that readers of the first novel will agree that this is as good as or better than its predecessor. 

Thompson takes the reader on another action-packed, thrilling ride as the plot deepens with more twists and turns. Will the events of 1999 in Ireland ever end? What more could come out this event? When you think Thompson has revealed everything, he adds more details! And does this not deepen the plot and strengthen it so? You bet it does! Managing all these twists and turns shows Thompson to be quite a master. There are much to-ing and fro-ing from the various plot lines. While this can be problematic and annoying in other novels, Thompson avoids this. He turns this into a strength. Not only for pace but for the action and thriller aspect as well. When you start wondering about such and such, lo and behold, there is the update in the next chapter! 

Other pillars of this series are Thompson's writing talent and his creativity. This is coupled with how he has applied the influences from TV shows such as The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, 24, Criminal Minds, and even that of Star Trek. He is also a fan of Sherlock Holmes.

One thing, amongst many others, that Thompson has remained consistent, is the amount of research he has conducted. It is one thing to do this in preparation for a novel but quite another to apply this effectively to it. Another one of Thompson's strengths. He has seamlessly integrated this so that it forms a rich and solid environment that is realistic and against which this plot flows well. 

In novels such as this, it is tempting for it be constructed as plot driven rather than character driven. Like it predecessor, this novel is the latter. This allows for the exploration of Blake's emotions and reactions as a husband, father and soldier. I was really impressed how Thompson showed the conflict of emotions that Blake experienced as these three aspects/roles reacted against each other while he tried valiantly to find his family, 
Furious and frustrated, his battered mind staggered about like a bludgeoned boxer. Thoughts of the last week swirled into a hazy, static-filled mass of conflicting rhetoric. The soldier wrestled with the husband and father inside his soul as he strode down the hallway. 
The inner struggle between the family man, the agent, and the soldier inside Blake intensified. This turmoil made him indecisive. For the first time in a long time, he didn't know what to do next. The soldier inside screamed orders: Get off your butt and find the people who kidnapped your family! They're terrorists, and they need to be shot! The agent shouted back, No! They need to be brought to justice! Capture them, and they may help you find the contagion. 
The family man-the husband and father-covered his ears with this hands as he sat in his own shower, lamenting his condition. He didn't care about the country anymore. He didn't care if his family's abductors lived or died. 
He just wanted his family back. Safe and sound. Without them, not much else mattered."
And it continued, 
With his body weary and his emotions raw and unruly, he knew that once he got into "combat mode," the soldier in him would override everything else. Getting to that state of mind was the difficult part, though. The feelings of the father inside kept getting in the way. The father wanted to kill everyone who hindered the rescue of his family. The father was about to lose his mind. And that's what the soldier could not afford to do. Nor the agent. 
And at times, he had to force the issue with himself, 
Blake closed his eyes. His emotions swelled. You have to be the soldier now. Not a husband or a father. That's too painful. There will be time for grieving later. 
There are many more examples. I found these instances heart rendering as I could relate to the husband and father side of Blake. What an overwhelming and fierce struggle it must be to have the soldier part of him fight these two sides. I was almost in tears. These examples show how well developed he has characterised Blake as the main protagonist. This is powerful writing and shows how this plot being character-driven is one of the successful pillars of this series. And while it is like this, I will drop everything to read the next instalment. I am so glad that Thompson has planned 6 books in this series. 

Great to see some favourite characters back in this instalment as well, such as Scarfano and Kelly. These two form a solid support system for Blake. I am further endeared to them as see them more as an essential part of this plot and Blake's success as the operative that he is. Yet, they do not detract from Blake being such an independent operative and self-made man's man. I am glad that at least these two will continue in the remaining series and even have larger roles as this seems to be a natural progression from the last novel to this one. 

I did not cope well with the attack on Blake's family, relatives and friends, the bombing of his household and the kidnapping of his wife and children. I hate plot lines like this but accept that this is part and parcel of this type of genre as well as real life. This kidnapping is part of the main theme of these two novels which is human trafficking. This is a subject dear to Thompson's heart. He has teamed up with World Hope International on this issue and will contribute 10% of his authorly earnings to this cause. In this novel, Thompson depicts the rawest, grittiest and most inhumane side of human trafficking compared the more political type of HT as depicted in 30 Days Hath revenge.

He has described and depicted this inhumane side of human trafficking well in this plot. Using Blake's family as its subject, he exposes the mentality and attitude of the human trafficker, 
First, make all you can while you can in one of the most hellish, heartless, and horrific business operations ever created by sinful man. Even if that means greasing some wheels and palms along the way. You may have to get out quick someday. 
Second, don't allow do-gooders to judge what you do. This business has been around forever, even in biblical times. So, if Joseph's brothers-his own flesh and blood- could sell him to a band of Midianite merchants on their way to Egypt, surely he (Morozov, human trafficker) can do this same with people with which has no relationships. 
And last but not at all least, don't look too deep into your victim's eyes. For as a trafficker, one wrong move could make Compassion is a worthless emotion. 
Thompson uses Morozov's character to exemplify these characteristics. He also shows how a human traffic network works. And this seems to be one very carefully structured mafia-type operation. Morozov's character is depicted as one evil creature motivated by money, greed, hatred, and a sadistic, contemptible disregard for human life. I fully supported Sarah in her many reactions towards him. He really pushed my buttons with his behaviour! 

Thompson also uses a main character to show what it is like for the human trafficking victim. As much as I was angered and incensed by Morozov, I was equally empathetic towards this victim. Her testimony is sad, tragic and devastating, 
......there is no crime more inhumane. Murder, stealing, rape are all single acts. Selfish acts. They are bad. but human trafficking commits all of them at once-and more. Stealing, rape, torture, drug addiction, and ultimately a slow death. And if you are fortunate enough to escape or are released, you never recover fully. How can you? Your life has been forever altered, forever, scarred, forever ruined. The memories haunted you. You wake up in the night sweating from the nightmares. And you can never get your innocence...your purity back. 
I was not surprised at the twist that occurred with one of the main characters. I was suspicious of this character in the previous novel. Seeing that this current novel ends with a cliffhanger, the full extent of the betrayal and deceit of this character will become clearer in the next instalment. This is another of the many reasons I am looking forward to Book 3. Bring on August! 

Speaking of cliffhangers and twists, the events that comprise this twist I did not see coming. It forms not only the cliffhanger but sets the entire pace and flavour for the next novel. Another part of this ending is that Blake is no closer to finding his family. Their demise is left with one highly emotional response from Sarah. 

I have the same comments about the spiritual aspects of this novel as its predecessor. From those comments, Thompson made mention on his website to these spiritual shortcomings he says, 
I am very encouraged with this statement. Harrison, like in the previous novel, continues to witness to Blake in various small ways. And like real life, these small opportunities can reap huge rewards in relation to one's eternal future when God has his way. 

All in all, this novel takes this series to the next level of mystery, intrigue, suspense and sets the flavour for the rest of the series. This is one great series. Thompson has found his niche in life. 

Strongly Recommended. 4.5/5 Stars.
World Building 5/5

Characters 5/5 

Spiritual Level 3/5 

Story 5/5 

Enemy Spiritual Level 0/5

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

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  1. I have loved this series so far! I simply just cannot put it down then I read it again! Right now I am reading some non fiction by William Combs called Who Told You That You Were Naked? by William Combs, for me it's been a great read to get back to how God sees us and that we should live for what he has set for us. But then I want to read a series like this! Works great for me!

    1. Becky, I could not agree with you more! Great series from a talented author. Combs' books sound great too! Glad you are being blessed by them.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Becky G, Thanks so much for the kind words and for being a fan of the Blake Meyer series!


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