A Jack Kenyon Mystery by Gordon Cope
Review: Gordon Cope introduces FBI agent Jack Kenyon, an expert at cyber security, who is drawn into an unusual case when he travels to London to settle the estate of his late Aunt Lydia Kenyon in Secret Combinations.
It isn't long after Jack arrives in London that he learns that his aunt may have been murdered. Apparently she was blind at the time she drove her car into a ravine. The police dismiss his suspicions, but Jack won't let it go. As he digs further into her affairs, he uncovers evidence that a number of forgeries passed through her high-end art gallery … and that Lydia knew of it. And then there's a known trafficker in high tech software, who has been seen in the vicinity of Lydia's home and gallery. What is he up to?
The most compelling aspect to Secret Combinations is its blend of low tech and high tech — fine art and computer viruses — that works surprisingly well together in the context of an international thriller. But several other elements work against this promising approach. The most significant of these is the character of Jack Kenyon. There's nothing inherently wrong with him as a person, or as the lead of a series, but it's almost impossible to picture him as an FBI agent. He's incredibly inept in his professional capacity and not in a comical way, constantly allowing himself to be manipulated or played by others … colleagues and adversaries. Speaking of which, none of these supporting characters are really developed much beyond the minimum required. The other real problem here is the sheer number of improbable coincidences created, which are not necessary to advance the plot but apparently exist simply for the sake of having them. These take a reasonably credible storyline and make it increasingly incredible with each new occurrence. All this being said, Secret Combinations is still rather entertaining, a credit to the author's ability as a storyteller, albeit not as intellectually interesting — or exciting — as it clearly could have been.
Acknowledgment: TouchWood Editions provided an ARC of Secret Combinations for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Secret Combinations: London, England
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Secret Combinations by Gordon Cope — A Jack Kenyon Mystery
Publisher: TouchWood Editions
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: September 2011
List Price: $26.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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