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The third installment of the Derrick Storm short story trilogy starts right where readers left off in A Raging Storm. Former private investigator turned CIA recruit, Storm, has been out of sight since the failure of his last mission, which ended in death and disaster prior to the start of ¬†A Brewing Storm.
This time, the Derrick Storm story has much more direction, resulting in a plot that isn’t slow moving at all (unlike the awkwardly slow buildup for the climax of the second book). There are conversations between Storm and other characters in¬†this latest book, just as in the first two installments of the series, but they are blessedly brief: Derrick leaves London only to get sent overseas elsewhere.
Much of the novel is essentially one side trying to outdo the other. Between the CIA and the Russian President’s administration, there is a lot of ego to go around, more so when you factor in Derrick Storm’s skills and his current position as a small bug in a big web of lies and covert operations. Still, Storm knows what he’s doing. Recruited by Clara Strike for the CIA, he is a valuable and skilled operator who works outside the rules and without the agency red tape holding him back.
The story does tie into Storm’s past, as does the team that has been assembled to go after the Russian gold. Like a haunting shadowed ghost, there is a traitor in their midst. That could be more than Storm can handle; Who can he trust? The people he thinks have screwed him in the past or the people that he has just recently met?
There are moments in the story that line up a little too well, are too predictable or seem stretched too far within the realm of possibility. The dichotomy is strange considering it is usually one or the other, with a book usually being too easy to foreshadow or too impossible to believe plausible, not both as is the case with A Bloody Storm.
A small amount of fantasy exists in every authors mind, it adds to the creative flow, but in this case some events seem a tad scripted. There is a difference between a well-planned plot line and a storyline too pretty to be plausible. For example, Agent Showers happens to be conveniently located for rescue. Without spoiling the situation, it just seems too convenient.
April Showers is a complicated character, continually dealing with only half the information she needs. She eventually figures out just what the CIA and the Russians want, but becomes dead set on saving face. Torn between her sense of duty to her country and finding out who Storm really is, there isn’t an easy ride planned for Agent Showers. Too bad other parties involved are against her succeeding in any.
One of the new characters briefly introduced is Hasan Sadikov. He works for the Russians, he likes to read and he happens to torture people on a professional basis. His character rings true like church bells on Sunday. The qualities he posses are patience and skill and he tailors his methods to each individual person to achieve maximum information extraction. He isn’t crazy and he isn’t overly violent, which makes his brand of pin-point-precision¬†torture even worse. Readers will imagine him to be dark eyed and dark haired with a grave voice. His methods involving a plastic bag and the threat of inhaling soda crackers to shred your lungs is cringe worthy, like nails on a chalkboard.
The action towards the end, though, seems too rushed. One moment Storm and his people are outside of a major city and the next they are in a building within it. This is all done without any indication of how they got there. The ending of the book could easily have gone sideways by mere yards in a fiery gory explosion. Still, fans will be happy to know that a dash of blissful ignorance will do the reader some good in this case so that they don’t consider too deeply, how the book would have ended in the real world.
In the spy-on-spy world, trust is a key factor. It can lead women to fall for the wrong man; it can lead men to trust in the wrong leader and enemies to become friends in the end. If trust is the key to a successful mission, then all the gold in the world is worthless if a man or woman has a price. The search for a partner or people you can trust is often more perilous than expected.
That is the bottom line of the Derrick Storm trilogy. Even with a vague ending and a plot hole, there is space for the next possible installment of books. However, that same plot hole will make readers re-examine the book in finer detail to see if there was something they missed. In this case, do you trust the writer and know that he is messing with your head or do you trust your gut and just sit tight waiting for the next Derrick Storm novel? This is a fine if predictable ending for the trilogy so far, but hopefully there will be more Derrick Storm in the future.
Rating: 3.5/5 For a good read that finally picks up the pace but then rushes to finish. Parts of the book are predictable, but the writing is entertaining enough to keep the reader plugging along.