Friday, February 16, 2018
Book Review: 'NO PLACE TO HIDE' by Steven M. Roth
Washington DC author Steven M. Roth earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy and history from Pennsylvania State University and a law degree from Duke Law School. He is retired from private law practice. Steve has published five novels to date – the Socrates Cheng mysteries: MANDARIN YELLOW, THE MOURNING WOMAN, and THE COUNTERFEIT TWIN, and the Trace Austin suspense thrillers: NO SAFE PLACE and the current NO PLACE TO HIDE. His presence in Washington, DC and his experience as a lawyer serve him well in sculpting tense, beautifully nuanced novels that blend international politics, the military, and of course crime!
When an author is able to strike a chord of fear with the opening lines, then the reader can be assured the designated genre of ‘suspense novel’ is correct. Steve does this with direct ease – ‘“Cuff the [man].” That was the last thing I heard before my face slammed against the hardwood floor, breaking my nose, splitting open my forehead, and unleashing a torrent of blood. I had answered the doorbell at my wife’s insistence — she was upstairs or somewhere else in the back part of our Washington, DC, townhouse. I immediately sized-up the man and woman standing on our porch as plainclothes cops. “You Trace Austin?” the man asked. When I said yes, he placed his palm against my chest and shoved me back into the foyer. He stepped in after me, then threw me to the floor. I started to get up, slowly pushing myself off the floor using one arm and my knee when he hooked his foot under my wrist and yanked my arm out from under me. I dropped down again, hard. “Stay on your stomach and put your hands behind your back,” he said. He turned to the woman who had entered the foyer with him. “I told you to cuff him. Do it.” The woman pulled out a set of Flex-Cuffs and stepped behind me. The man spoke to me again as the woman restrained my wrists behind my back. “Anyone else here?” “My wife. Upstairs or somewhere in the back of the house. What’s going—” “Anyone else?” I shook my head. Once my arms were secured, the man said, “On your feet.” And we’re off and running and that pace is sustained throughout this fine book.
Steve offers a synopsis that outlines the area the novel v=covers – ‘What do you do when the President wants you dead? You do the thing you were trained to do. You fight back or you die. That’s the situation ex-Navy SEAL Trace Austin faces when the President of the United States decides to eliminate the five people who know his deadly secret — a secret so disturbing that should it ever be revealed, it will send the President to prison for the rest of his life. Trace knows the President’s secret. He is one of the five people the President must eliminate before he leaves Office and gives up his powers as President. But Trace will not go quietly. He will fight back against all efforts to get rid of him. Because Trace has no other choice. When the President of the United States wants you dead, there is no place to hide. You resist or you die.’
Reading this second installment of the Trace Austin series develops a need to read the entire series – and that is a solid sigh that Seven M. Roth is a novelist of significance. Grady Harp, February 18
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