Fantastic. I realised half way through that it was going to get a rave review, and the book just kept getting better and better. I nearly didn't read it as well! I wasn't sure if it was quite my kind of thing, but boy am I glad I picked it up at the library. Wow. Couldn't put it down, as in bursting for the loo but walked to the bathroom with book in front of my nose couldn't put it down. Tense, exciting, great action, great character... I realise it's starting to sound as though I like every book I read, but if I don't like them they tend to get abandoned a few chapters in and go back to the library, and hence don't get reviewed... Anyway.
Jonathan Grave. An expert in hostage rescue, who operates outside the law. The nearest character I can think of to compare him to would be Scott Mariani's Ben Hope, but they do have significant differences. Grave is a somewhat darker, more mysterious character, with enough personal details slipped in to bring him to life, but enough excluded to leave you begging for more. The plot is fantastic. You'd think there were only so many permutations of terrorist + biological weapons + shady government dealings that you could find, but John Gilstrap proves that there's always one more you haven't thought of.
It's a fairly standard mission for Grave, even if it does end more messily than he'd like. The hostage is safe, the kidnappers all dead. Nobody, including the hostage, knows who he is, and the cops should draw their own conclusions and not put too much effort into finding him. Until Grave's ex-wife is tortured and murdered, and the man who she loved is discovered, also tortured. And Grave gets a message in the post, a film of the negotiations between the kidnappers and the victims parents, just in case he didn't succeed. Trouble is, Grave discovers, the kidnappers didn't want money. The boss of the kidnappers was after secrets, or, more specifically, after a deadly bioweapon that he's already promised to an African warlord. And Grave had reckoned without a sheriff determined to obey her promise to uphold the law, regardless of weather the murders were committed to rescue a hostage or not.
Tense, exciting, leaves me in no doubt that I'll be after the next as soon as it comes out.