Suspense, Politics & a Heroine to Grab Your Heart

Overall  ♥♥♥♥♥   Performance  ♥♥♥♥   Story  ♥♥♥♥♥

With its smooth, snappy pacing, murky political and bureaucratic machinations, and admirable heroine up against a male-dominated police force, American Quartet reads like a newly released suspense thriller. When you realize that the print version of this masterful novel appeared in 1981, the most astonishing fact is that little has changed from then until now. The brutal racism obstructing Fiona’s black detective partners, the supercharged violence and drugs of the inner city, the difficulties of balancing a demanding career and a personal life, the endless social climbing and scramble for votes–the scene could well be contemporary Washington D.C.

Except for the absence of omnipresent cell phones, and the presence of a Vietnam Ranger vet who plays a prominent role as Fiona’s newly assigned partner, author Warren Adler was prescient in his examination of the battles we never seem to win, no matter how many decades pass. His psychopathic killer, the wealthy socialite “Thad” Remington III, is as disturbed and obsessed as any gun nut ripped from current headlines. Fiona’s boyfriend consistently puts his political career before hers; nothing new here! The bureacratic in-fighting, back-stabbing, and face-saving of the police force happens daily, everywhere, now.

I confess I was so involved in the plot twists I was up all night finishing this fabulous thriller. The characters are vividly real, the writing is evocative and appealing to all senses–you can feel the muggy D.C. heat and smell the sweat and aftershave and coffee. And it was heart-wrenching to watch Fiona fight her own excellent instincts every time she is put down by a male colleague or her own lover. Without giving away plot points, the historic structure behind Thad’s “copy-cat” killings is brilliant.

Somehow I missed this book in print form, but I definitely won’t miss Book Two in audio! I would be curious to hear a different narrator–while Julie Griffin’s fast, almost breathless performance suits the pace of the novel, she mispronounces a number of words and doesn’t vary her vocal range and pacing the way my favorite narrators do. (Frank should have a deep, even rough, masculine voice instead of the high boyish tenor!)

All told, American Quartet is a heart-gripping, pulse-pounding thriller–with the promise of more to come! Don’t miss it.

“This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBoom dot com.”

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