Monday, July 2, 2012

Scapegoat by Amy Dawson Robertson

Publisher:        Bella Books

Scapegoat is volume two in the Rennie Vogel intrigue series.  Someone has to pay for the mistakes made in a previous government mission in Tajkistan and Rennie is that someone.  Her career is over and she’s been ordered not to have any contact with Hannah Marcus, the woman she rescued during the mission.  Rennie is ripe to be plucked when she is approached by the Foundation, a private organization formed by a wealthy businessman to deal with threats to the country that the US government may not be able to be involved with.  Rennie agrees with the Foundation in principle, but she’s not sure of its tactics.  Her first assignment brings her in contact with a murderer, white supremacists, survivalists and Hannah Marcus.  It’s questionable which is more difficult, bringing down a terrorist threat to the US or establishing a relationship with Hannah.

This is an excellent follow-up to Robertson’s first book Miles to Go.  There is an atmosphere of tension through the whole book and a dark tone that seems to surround Rennie.  The suspense follows a pattern of building; then there is a release before it builds the suspense again.  Each time the peak goes higher than before leading to a crescendo in the final confrontation.  The characters are complicated and very well drawn.  Vogel is a study in the complexity of a person who is trying to reestablish herself after she thinks her life has been destroyed and Hannah clearly shows the torn emotions of a woman who is dedicated to her work, but wants to make room in her life for someone else.  Supporting characters are just as complex, perhaps more so.

One of the book’s strengths is that Robertson has the courage to let things happen that other authors fail to carry through with because they’re not very nice.  She doesn’t mind taking a risk with her plot.  Scapegoat is realistic in showing that, sometimes, the bad guy does win a confrontation.  Added to that is enough about current situations to make the reader feel like she is reading an account of actual events instead of fiction.

Amy Dawson Robertson has earned herself a position among the best action suspense writers today.  Both of her books have delivered on everything that the category promises.  She is quickly entering that group of authors whose books will be bought automatically because they are known for the quality they provide.  The fact that she tells an excellent story is certainly part of that.

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