Saturday, September 14, 2013

When the Contract Security Goes Official: HIGH TREASON, John Gilstrap

A few weeks ago the fourth Jonathan "Digger" Grave thriller by John Gilstrap went live, and the good news is, Gilstrap still isn't as well known as, say, Harlan Coben, Jeffrey Deaver, Joseph Finder, or Tess Gerritsen, all of whom have praised his books. Why is that good news? Simple: It means you'll be able to pick up HIGH TREASON in a first printing for a while longer. That's a huge plus for collectors -- although the minus for collectors is, the books only come out in paperback and e-form, not in hardcover. This would be a good moment to tell Gilstrap's publisher, Kensington's Pinnacle imprint, that it's time to put out harcover copies of all of these, and of any future Gilstrap titles.

Because this is a series worth collecting.

HIGH TREASON takes Jonathan and his supersized partner in hostage rescue, the Big Guy, a.k.a. Boxers, into an uneasy partnership with the FBI. The previous books have shown clearly why it's an advantage in hostage rescue to be unofficial -- even if well connected. But there isn't much choice: The hostage who's been kidnapped is the First Lady, and even if she and the President are known to be fighting with each other, the snatching can't be allowed. It's pressure on POTUS, the President of the United States, and Jonathan and Boxers are the best equipped to unearth the criminals, rescue the First Lady, and return national politics to what it should be. Irene, the FBI director better known to series fans as Wolverine, hopes to persuade them.
"Jesus," Jonathan turned to Irene. "And last time I checked, you have a few ambitious people working for you, too."

Irene held up her hands. "Don't think I haven't offered."

"We can't risk it," Winters said. "The news is just too big. To do what we have to do would require the involvement of courts and other law enforcement agencies. There's just no way the secret wouldn't leak out."

"And the secret is more important than Mrs. Darmond's life?"

"Of course not," Winters scoffed.

"But kinda?" Jonathan prompted.

Winters set his jaw and took a loud, deep breath. "Are you willing to help us or not?"
Expect plenty of gunfire and explosives, as well as the high-stakes negotiating at which Jonathan and Boxers excel. But there are major surprises in store for the team, including what happens when they have to rely on hostages to take an active role in rescue -- plus the complications of the First Lady's past, and the risks for the team in going "official" for any activity at all.

HIGH TREASON is a fast-paced thriller, and Gilstrap's writing is smooth and incisive. The working twosome of Jonathan and Boxers isn't just an action team, though; there are questions of who gets to make what kind of decisions, and how Jonathan in particular deals with the moral choices and consequent guilt. Gilstrap has managed these elements with care and skill since the first in the series, No Mercy, and he's moving to intriguing  ground with them in HIGH TREASON.

Don't expect to get much else done while you're reading this one -- it's really hard to put down! You don't need to read the other three first, and the series is good in any order. Here's the author's website for more info and his other work:

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