Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Book Review: 'Shadow Cell' by Joseph D'Antoni

California author Joseph D'Antoni understands crime in all its manifestations and his penetrating knowledge gained as a forensic and economic expert testifying in court cases throughout the world attests. Clients such as the FBI, Department of Justice, intelligence agencies and major law firms add to his exposure for material e is so successfully translating into his novels. As is bio states, `his fictional characters are often inspired from actual cases he has worked on and events he has investigated.' He is also a fine photographer and his works have been successfully published as well as shown widely. This book SHADOW CELL is subtitled WADE HANNA SERIES BOOK 4 - the Book 1 of the series is his successful SILENT SANCTION where he introduced his character Wade Hanna.

Writing a series of books around a strong character always presents the risk of placing the reader in the position of `catching up' to the drift of the book by reading the previous volumes. In Joseph's case he very wisely provides enough information in his opening chapter to give the reader a solid image of the hero who stands at the center of the stories. ` Wade Hanna had no reason to remain in Washington, D.C. after being jolted by the surprise disappearance of his lover and former handler, Megan Winslow. As an ordinary citizen, he would have stayed to file a missing person’s report with the local police. But the disappearance of a fellow undercover operative in the same covert intelligence agency couldn’t be handled in that manner. Instead, Wade booked the first flight back home to Alabama. Sitting in the back seat of the airport cab, Wade reflected on the jumble of facts contributing to Megan’s disappearance. Nothing seemed to fit. The more he thought about Megan, the more grief and anger he felt. Staring in silence at the stream of blurry lights along the Beltway Wade tried to keep his mind clear but his focus wouldn’t hold. The unsettling facts he had learned a few hours ago continued to interrupt his concentration. His stomach tightened with each jolt of the taxi as it twisted and turned through traffic trying to make his departure gate on time. After finding that Megan’s condo had been sold, Wade was convinced that she was no longer in the D.C. area and wondered if she were even still alive. Everything seemed to point to an Agency involvement or worse, an off-line mission of the Agency’s secret command. Because of her investigation into Agency activities, she had become a target. Wade’s discovery of the secret covert group operating within U.S. Military Intelligence had occurred months earlier when he interrogated one of the group’s death squad leaders. Given the lethal methods they employed, it would not be surprising if Megan was no longer living. He wasn’t ready to conclude that quite yet, but struggled emotionally to prepare himself for the gruesome outcome.'

As always Joseph provides enough information in the synopsis to pull the reader in: `The disappearance of former handler and lover Megan Winslow strikes hard at Wade Hanna’s soul. He tenaciously digs into covert operations and learns that Megan is in mortal danger. The secret laboratory she has penetrated is conducting experiments on orphans to revive a Nazi effort to modify cell structure and turn innocent children into weaponized biological agents. A ruthless Argentine mobster now has world powers unfriendly to America eager to pay exorbitant sums for this technology of terror. Megan is the only one standing between the horrific experiments and the children’s freedom. If she is discovered, torture and death will follow. Facing overwhelming odds, Wade has little time to rescue her and save the children.'

Once you begin reading Joseph D'Antoni's series, you find watching for the next episode a daily pastime. He is a terrific writer who has created unforgettable characters - superb action writing! Grady Harp, November 15

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.