Review: Brothers Charles Mallory and Jon Mallory take very different approaches to dealing with a terrorist threat that is originating in the heart of Africa in Viral, a thriller that is potentially the first in a new series by James Lilliefors.
Charles is the head of a covert business group, a private contractor that provides its services to the CIA. Jon is an investigative reporter, who hasn't had direct contact with his brother in years … though they speak over the phone on a regular basis. When Charles misses one of these pre-arranged calls, Jon begins to worry, using his network of international contacts to learn that his brother's last known sighting was in a small country in Africa. On an impulse, he leaves Washington DC for Kenya but not before he begins to receive coded messages that he believes could only have come from Charles. Meanwhile, Charles is trying to put the pieces of a puzzle together that suggests a war is coming, one like the world has never seen before.
Viral strikes a nice balance between fast-paced thriller, good character development, and, as a subtext, thoughtful commentary. The storyline follows a rather predictable path, but the completely different approaches taken by the brothers keeps the reader both invested and interested in how they will tackle — and ultimately solve — the problem they're facing. Somewhat ironically, the lack of frequent dynamic action scenes so typical of these kinds of thrillers actually comes across as one of the book's strengths. The suspense — and enjoyment therefrom — is credibly derived from the brothers' planning and execution, not from any who-, why-, or howdunit element in the story. On the slightly negative side, there are far too many minor characters to keep track of, many of which seem to have little to contribute.
The author leaves the door open at the end for subsequent stories to feature the brothers. They're a good pair, engaging in their own way, each bringing to the table a set of skills that balance what the other lacks.
Acknowledgment: Soho Press provided an ARC of Viral for this review.
Review Copyright © 2012 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Leviathan Effect
Soho Crime (Hardcover), March 2013
ISBN-13: 9781616952495; ISBN-10: 1616952490
Location(s) referenced in Viral: Africa, Washington DC
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Viral by James Lilliefors — A Mallory Brothers Thriller
Publisher: Soho Crime
Publication Date: April 2012
List Price: $25.00
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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