Evil Deeds by Joseph Badal

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MWSA Review

Two families struggle to overcome events that start 28 years earlier when a two-year-old child is kidnapped and the child’s father kills the kidnapper’s son. In four parts with three primarily set in the former Yugoslavia during the bloody 1999 ethnic conflict.

Suspense, tension, and excitement are Evil Deeds main elements. Additional characteristics are adrenalin-pumping, gritty, rousing, and fast-paced plot with international political intrigue and terrorism.

Obviously well-researched, with details lending themselves to an authoritative voice that makes the entire tale believable. Behaviors of a number of characters are exactly what you would expect from a real-life version of that character. The author uses the book to illustrate the brutality of the ethnic-cleansing type of brutality that may not have been reported in the press or read by the average media consumer.

The reader’s feelings are successfully manipulated by the author to direct a visceral reaction to words on paper. We anticipate actions and are heartened by actions to bring the “bad guys” to justice. High levels of anxiety make this a page-turner of break-neck pace. There is large-scale villainy to include the office of the president of Yugoslavia. There is espionage and government conspiracy. The main characters face death. Initially the forces of evil are more powerful than those of good. There is a quest for justice and morality that cannot be abandoned by either side.

A mystery is known to the reader and some but not to one of the most significant characters. The reader can “hear” an action sound track that would accompany the prose. The main characters on the side of good are represented as innocents in a corrupt world. The main characters on the side of good are dragged into situations for which they are not prepared or equipped. Some very nice twists to the plot with unexpected changes in direction. One of those is a foreign assassin operating inside U.S. borders. Recommended for readers, who enjoy this genre.

Reviewed by: Jim Tritten (2015)


Author's Synopsis

Evil Deeds is an 118,100-word, four-part thriller spanning a twenty-eight-year period. 
Part I begins in 1971 in Greece with the kidnapping of Bob and Liz Danforth’s two-year-old son, Michael, by a renegade band of Gypsies led by Stefan Radko. Radko and his group kidnap children, spirit them north, and sell them to the Bulgarian Government. The Bulgarians raise the children as Greeks, indoctrinate them as Communists, and train the best and brightest as espionage agents. Years later, these children will be infiltrated back into Greece as Communist agents. Michael’s abduction sets in motion a search by Bob and Liz, in partnership with an U.S. Intelligence Officer, Franklin Meers, and a former Communist agent, George Makris. George was kidnapped at the age of six, raised in the same Bulgarian orphanage Michael is taken to, infiltrated back into Greece twenty-five years later, and arrested by the Greeks as a spy. Bob and George illegally cross into Bulgaria to try to find Michael in the orphanage. Instead, they find the building recently evacuated. While they search the building, Radko and his teenaged son, Gregorie, show up with another kidnapped infant. A gun battle ensues and Bob kills Radko’s son. Radko wounds Bob and George, then escapes. Bob and George rescue the infant and struggle to return to Greece. While Bob and George flee Bulgaria, an alert U.S Embassy employee spots Michael with a woman in a park in Sofia, Bulgaria. Michael is returned to his parents. Bob’s unauthorized excursion into Bulgaria lands him in hot water with the Army. The CIA recruits Bob after he is forced to resign from the military.