Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 125-130,000 words
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Sean Sweeney lives in Massachusetts, where he covers sports for the local newspaper. He has written several novels. This is the third in the Jaclyn Johnson, code name Snapshot thriller series.
After a bombing of the Las Vegas Monorail narrowly misses killing the President of the United States, CIA Director Alexandra Dupuis sends her top agent, Jaclyn Johnson, to find out who is responsible and stop them from committing additional terrorist attacks.
The Jaclyn Johnson novels partially follow the same formula as Ian Fleming’s James Bond, novels with their overblown villains and sexy protagonist with a toolkit full of futuristic tricks-of-the-trade. By moving the setting to the future (albeit, just a few years) and making his protagonist a female, Sweeney has added his own twists to the formula. Rather than communists and megalomaniacal psychopaths with the goal of world domination, Sweeney gives us villains who are religious fundamentalist terrorists or megalomaniacal psychopaths with the goal of world domination. Sweeney’s heroine shows her humanity and the chinks in her armor much more readily than Fleming’s Bond. Where Bond’s only nod to human frailty is an apparent sexual addiction (offset by his superhuman ability to bed a series of unbelievably beautiful women), Johnson makes mistakes. While she tries to hide it, she has doubts. And as for her sexuality, her upbringing stunted her development in this area, which is just starting to catch up to her peers in this third installment of the series.
In a thriller, the plot matters more than the character, and Sweeney has put together a good, fast-paced plot full of the usual action, weapons (including the infamous WOMTD aka weapons of mass transit destruction), and technological tricks. But what separates one thriller from the next is the characters. While I’d rather be James Bond, I’d much rather know Jaclyn Johnson.
Some adult language and sexual situations.
As a beta reader I evaluated based on a pre-publication version and can’t evaluate the final version in this area.
Rating: ***** Five stars