Subterfuge finds Maggie and her team hunting a Russian crime boss who took a contract out on her two years ago. What were some sources that informed this novels development?
Maggie is given the unique opportunity to assassinate the very person who ordered her death two years ago. Valdev Belevich, the Russian crime boss, has never seen Maggie, which gives her an advantage. Still, because of the nature of casinos, the criminal element they attract, and facial recognition software, she must change her physical appearance as much as possible. The team is acutely aware the longer this mission takes, the longer Maggie is in danger of being recognized. Shep’s government contact told him the mission is not an option, it is a demand and they don’t want to know details. For Maggie, this is a personal job. Not only was she Belevich’s target two years ago, a hit he believes was successful, but he is the last link to the murder of a loved one. She is seeking revenge. It isn’t long upon the team’s arrival that Maggie finds the mission is more intricate than originally thought. It turns into a life changing event for her and Shep.
Maggie continues to be an intriguing character. What were some new angles you wanted to explore about her character in this book?
At 26, Maggie is now an adult and the mother of two children. Prior to this mission, she had re-enrolled at a university to finish her music degree. Her life is going in a positive direction until the assassination orders come down from Shep’s government contact and she must rejoin the team to go undercover. I wanted readers to see more of Maggie’s fragile side in this book. She has been through tremendous trauma in the previous books which were never fully resolved. As a black ops assassin, Maggie could always get through a mission with emotions in check. Because of the personal nature of this assignment and her driving need for revenge, it takes a toll on her emotionally. I wanted readers to see what happens when Maggie’s two worlds collide and how she copes with it.
The team go undercover at a casino resort in Northern Spain. Why did you choose this location for your novel?
By locating the casino near Oviedo, in Northern Spain, it adds an extra level of stress and melancholy for Maggie. Her mother’s birthplace, Malaga, in Southern Spain, is where Maggie found her extended family and where she lived for over a year and a half. Because she and her team brought down the Brotherhood, she had to cut all contact with her mother’s family. It also creates another level of danger for her being back in Spain, a country that is no longer welcoming to her. From a logistic standpoint, it made sense geographically for Belevich’s drug route to pass through the Oviedo area on its way to the Bay of Biscay. This ties him to the largest criminal family in Spain, the head of which resides in Oviedo.
What can readers expect in book five in the Magdalena series?
Without giving away the ending to Subterfuge, Maggie encounters a man more evil and more dangerous than any previous foe. He is relentless and it will not be easy for her or Shep to escape him. Book five will find Maggie pitted against him. What he wants from her and what she discovers will be at the center of the plot.
Subterfuge, by Shannon Condon, the fourth book in her action thriller series, is a story about deceit and betrayal. It is the story about Magdalena, a member of a black ops unit, who together with her team, is on an assignment to assassinate a Russian crime lord. However, soon they realize they are working for the enemy, and it is not a government contract as they were led to believe.
The narration is straightforward yet sufficiently descriptive to create vivid imagery. The author takes you on a visual journey with the characters and whatever they are doing. Also, I felt that there was a good balance between narration and dialogue between the characters. So, you get to see what they are saying and the emotions they are expressing while saying it.
The story is engaging and fast paced, with each chapter ending in some kind of suspense that will nudge you to read the next. A good author knows when, and how, to end a chapter.
What I liked most about the book is just when you think everything is going well, the author surprises you with an unexpected twist to the plot. At first, everything goes according to plan, almost too perfect. But this is a story about deception, so nothing is really as it seems.
Another thing I liked about this book is that you need not have read the other three that precede it in the series to understand it. The author provides flashbacks to help you understand the series arc in summary and gives a bit of background to each character. The interpersonal relationships between the characters also make the book much more enjoyable.
Subterfuge is a fast-paced story with twists that are rarely, if ever, expected. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.
Pages: 164 | ASIN: B08D3VB9HS
Another ghost returns when Maggie and her team are ordered to assassinate Russian crime boss Valdev Belevich, the man who took out a contract on Maggie’s life nearly two years ago. The team must go undercover at a casino resort in Northern Spain. Once there, the landscape quickly changes, and Maggie finds herself making a promise she should never keep.
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A mystery novel that tackles uncomfortable issues with a splash of adventure is what readers will find within the pages of The Vatican Protocol by Brian Gallagher. This book contains all the basics of a mystery: intrigue, conspiracies, subterfuge and best of all, aliens. Whether or not the aliens are real and what relationship they have to the story that is told is up to the readers to discover. It’s a grand journey that crosses over the Atlantic Ocean to Europe in search of answers. Almost Indiana-Jones-esque, this adventure will surely have readers turning those pages to discover just what the relationship is between these aliens and the ever esteemed Vatican church. The answer might just surprise all who pick this up.
We follow our protagonist, Sean O’Sea, as he begins his journey from his comfortable home to Europe where his life is placed in jeopardy several times. It’s not a good action story without some sort of armed confrontation. Sean seems like a regular man with very irregular friends as he pursues his latest obsession with alien theories and whether or not there is any truth to the stories that have been told. He’s a likeable character and his ‘everyman’ flavouring will allow all readers to feel a bit of them in him. This allows readers to connect with the story on a more personal level and demonstrates the clever wordsmithing at play. The cast of characters is easy to keep track of even if it may seem like there are a few more than necessary.
The small downfalls of this book is the dialogue and how convenient everything seems. There are points in the novel when characters are conversing between themselves and their words seem stilted and forced. As if they are speaking just for the sake of speaking. This detracts slightly from the overall tone of the novel, but it is easy to move past.
As for the convenience of everything, this could just be a story element to help solidify the conspiracy flavour of the book as a whole, but it seems contrived in some areas. Our protagonist just happens to have a summer home that is looked after by a man who just happens to have worked with the CIA on top secret missions. Our protagonist also just happens to make friends with some very influential people during his travels and just happens to uncover a massive plot while being an ordinary man. Perhaps this is what makes a great conspiracy tale, however it felt a little too easy. But these are minor and don’t take away from the joy of reading.
For readers who enjoy reading conspiracy theories that involve the church and global cover-ups, you will definitely find an enjoyable read in The Vatican Protocol by Brian Gallagher. This action story knee-deep in such a controversial subject is entertaining to read and the twist at the end will have all readers questioning exactly what transpired in the pages of the book.
Pages: 286 | ASIN: B01G0Y8ZFG
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