‘Vigilante: A person who seeks to avenge a crime by taking the law into his or her own hands.’
California author Mark Nolan practiced his writing craft as a successful entrepreneur, creating news stories for businesses that were featured in The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, Parade, Readers Digest and Associated Press. He now applies those skills in observation, commentary, legal shenanigans and political maneuverings to create sold fiction. DEAD LAWYERS DON’T LIE, the first installment in the Jake Wolfe Series was his a strong publication debut. This book – VIGILANTE ASSASSIN - is Book 2 and is equally as satisfying.
Mark has create a cast of characters for this financial thriller that is unusual in that the main character is a photojournalist, Jake, who lives with his skilled dog Cody on a boat in the San Francisco area, and whose involvement in the suspense filled story is marked with a keen sense of humor, love of art and knowledge of dog training makes this one snappy read - a story that though terrifying at times allows the reader to breathe with the machinations of Jake and Cody – and the rest of the sterling cast.
When an author has the courage to open the every first paragraph with an ominous surprise we know we are in for a thriller with spunk. ‘Lauren Stephens awoke before dawn with a sense of deep foreboding. She reached out to her husband, but Gene wasn’t beside her.’’ Enough said – on to the synopsis: ‘Jake Wolfe wants to leave his violent past behind, but when a woman and her kids are threatened he starts a one-man vigilante war on a criminal gang. Every marriage has a secret, and this one is deadly. Lauren Stephens wakes up to find her husband, Gene, has vanished during the night. His phone is dead. Desperate, she hires Jake Wolfe and his war dog, Cody. They search the house and discover something so disturbing that Jake won’t allow Lauren near it. “No, if you see this, there is no unseeing it.” Lauren thought she had it all: a loving partner, two great kids, a successful business, and a beautiful home in the San Francisco hills. But all of that is about to come crashing down, due to a missing husband, a hidden past, and a frightening secret that will shock a trusting wife to the core. Gene has enemies, and now they want something from Lauren. Jake Wolfe is a flawed man who has a habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He wants to leave his secret, violent past behind him, but when Lauren and her children are threatened, his protective instinct takes command. Jake soon finds himself involved in a dangerous conspiracy, targeted for death, and engaged in battle with a powerful, unseen group who will stop at nothing to get what they want. Jake’s going to have to think fast and fight hard to protect Cody, Lauren and her kids.’
A fine second installment, and it looks as though Book 3 is due out soon. Mark Nolan is definitely establishing his place in the arena of fin writers. Highly Recommended.
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.