A thriller to take your breath away

So now we approach the halfway mark of this year and are hard-charging toward the fall and winter holidays. Don’t know about you, but my tongue is hanging out. What a year – one disaster after another, and that’s just the weather. We do live in interesting times.

Tom Sawyer has such an inventive way with conspiracy novels they leave the reader wondering if he made the whole thing up or if it might just have happened that way. His latest thriller – and Number One Bestseller – is NO PLACE TO RUN. Published in 2009 by Sterling & Ross, it was voted Best Novel of 2009 by the American Book Readers Association. A political conspiracy thriller, it’s the first novel to make the case that the 9/11 hijackers received serious help from high up within the U.S.

All that’s left is for Hollywood to pick up NO PLACE TO RUN. It would make a dandy movie, and that really would give this year a glorious turn. Here’s my review of the novel.

NO PLACE TO RUN by Thomas B. Sawyer
Sterling & Ross 2009
Opening lines:
***
There it was again.
Ticka-ticka-ticka-ticka…
He stopped breathing.Then, almost as quickly as they had come the noises diminished,
vanished. He exhaled. His pulse began to slow. Once again, the loudest sound in the murky foyer was his heartbeat.

A rat, probably. As frightened as I am. Strike that. Not even close. Bill Lawrence realized he’d lost count. His fear bordered on terror. Not of getting caught–he was here, after all, with the tenant’s permission. At his request, actually. Nor was
it the singularity of what he was doing. Skulking on his hands and knees in dark places was well outside Bill’s normal professional activities.
***
You might assume from the riveting first pages that Bill Lawrence is the protagonist. You might be right. You might be wrong. Things are not always what they seem in this Byzantine tale of the discovery of certain facts about the events leading to 9/11 – and the desperate, damn-the-costs attempt to prevent them from emerging.

What rogue federal agents do to protect a powerful Washington figure with a connection to the terror attacks of 9/11 makes for nasty
business. Sawyer brings it down to human levels with a 24 year-old sister and her young brother running for their lives, trusting no one, not even the agent intent on saving them, as they try to solve the cryptic evidence uncovered by their father.

The 12-year-old brother, who has made a science of outwitting adults, adds a humorous note to this nail-biting, stomach-churning story.

Sawyer is a TV/film veteran and it shows in the quick cuts from scene to scene, with no wasted motion. The first few chapters are like the
opening of a suspenseful movie. People appear and disappear with only the briefest of introduction or explanation. There are visuals – scraps of scratch-paper notes and news clips.

Along about page 50 the story stretches out a little with a bit of back story. But don’t get comfortable. The whole thing blows up with a shocking twist, and takes off in a different, unexpected direction.

The great director Alfred Hitchcock described a McGuffin as “the mechanical element that usually crops up in any story. In crook stories it is almost always the necklace and in spy stories it is most always the papers.”

Here, it’s the papers. Draw your own conclusions. Sawyer’s McGuffin propels the plot right up to the surprise ending.

NO PLACE TO RUN is an exciting, satisfying, thought-provoking stomach-churner, one worth staying up late to finish.

Tom’s web site is http://www.ThomasBSawyer.com

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About browning26

mystery author, former English teacher, former newspaper reporter, former legal secretary

Posted on May 9, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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