Review of Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott
I'm not a big fan of political intrigue, the same way I'm not a big fan of horror-type science fiction. I generally like my heroes to be everyday people. But I do recognize talent, and I enjoyed Jeff Abbott's first series. It came out in 1994 and had an everyday librarian as the main character. I noted the last two books in that series, read nine years after they were published, as excellent and very good. His characters have come a long way from a small town Texas librarian to rookie judge to young CIA agent.
Adrenaline depicts the personality of Sam Capra, who in his spare time, does parkour, a sport made famous by the James Bond chase scene in Casino Royale. For those not in the know, parkour is the ability to adapt to objects in your path by physically moving over, under, around or through them and thus, continue forward. That, charged with adrenaline, is the underlying talent of the main character.
Sam's pregnant wife Lucy works with him in a secret London CIA office. Their job is to try to infiltrate the more sophisticated gangs of world criminals that are loosely held together by a powerful elite. When Sam gets a call from his wife to get out of the London office before it explodes, he sees her being taken by a man with a scar. So begins the hunt for Lucy after Sam is accused of treason, interrogated, imprisoned and finally set up as bait. He feels Lucy is being coerced and agrees to find another kidnapped woman in hopes that it will lead him to his wife.
Like parkour, the plot is constantly in motion with many twists and turns that keep the reader as anxious as Sam is to find his wife. The book ends with a bit of a cliffhanger that sets up a second book in the series called Last Minute. Because the focus is on the intrigue, Sam's personality hinges more on his bulldog approach and his ability to see the next risky move, like parkour participants calculate the best line to overcome obstacles.
Overall I recommend the book, which is a quick read and a page-turner. Perhaps intrigue allows the reader to experience a more thrilling and physical lifestyle vicariously through Sam. Even though I find it more satisfying to unravel the personal, familial and mental intrigues that create the Jordan Poteets of the world, I will probably follow up on the future adventures of Sam Capra.