MWSA 2009 President's Award
Move over M. Night Shamalan, John Cathcart has arrived! Airline Captain and new widower John Carter casually mentions the name of an acquaintance at a bar in Grenada. This simple act throws him into the middle of an international plot filled with mad business men, beautiful and intelligent Latinas, governmental alphabet soup groups and bad guys of all persuasions. Like Cary Grant's character in Hitchcock's North by Northwest, everyone but John seems to know what's happening - but in the end, he must take the situation in hand and solve the puzzle that his life has become.
DELTA 7 is a flashy new entrant into the crowded world of literary mystery and intrigue. Author John Cathcart's first chapter describing the attack on Libya by the USAF in 1986 is a breathtaking hook. The chapter ends with, "Captain John Carter was now a combat veteran." The parenthetical second chapter follows a young Columbian boy from the moment that he is kidnapped by revolutionaries through his introduction to battle and ending with, "Carlos Hernandez was now a combat veteran." With these first fourteen pages, the author establishes himself as a clever and intuitive novelist.
Then he takes you on a wild ride through the complex and violent under-society of Columbia. The chapters are basic one or two scene presentations - a series of flipping perspectives, action sequences, and romantic interludes. This stylistic device gives the book a sense of movement and direction - like a spinning aircraft that generates excitement even though it's really controlled by the pilot. It also is an excellent technique for dropping clues that the reader picks up intuitively. When at last the tale unfolds and the good and bad are identified, the real surprise at the end is satisfying because the reader knew it all along but just didn't know she knew it.
This book will appeal to those who enjoy Hitchcock movies, Ken Follett stories, cold beer, spicy food and hot women.
Reviewed by: Joyce Faulkner (2009)
For 20 years, John Carter served as a USAF fighter pilot and attaché. Everything appeared to be on track for a comfortable retirement. Without warning, however, his world is turned upside-down after a casual conversation during a layover in the Caribbean island of Grenada sets into motion a series of events that threaten to inalterably change-or perhaps even end-his life. Out of the blue, an old friend turns up to impart a bizarre and almost unbelievable story... and a warning. Within a matter of hours, Carter discovers that his military friends and comrades are disappearing. With the help of a beautiful and enigmatic woman from his past, Carter returns to Colombia in a frantic attempt to unravel the truth in a world ruled by violence, illicit drugs and money. Unbeknownst to Carter, shadowy players are already caught up in this high-stakes and deadly poker game. Relying on his super-secret attaché training, Carter tries to stay alive in a frantic hunt for allies... and answers.