Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 85-90,000 words
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A mother of three and a respiratory therapist, M.P. McDonald has been an avid reader her entire life. As the fifth of eight children, hiding in the corner with a book may have been M.P.’s only way to get a moment of peace. She has been married for twenty-something years despite it being a mixed marriage – M.P. is a Bears fan and her hubby roots for the Packers.
“After thwarting a disaster in the nation's capital, Mark Taylor captures the attention of the CIA. Mark doesn't trust the agency—not with his history with them—but he agrees to demonstrate the miraculous camera in the hopes of creating a team to help him ward off future catastrophe.
Mark realizes too late that he should have listened to his gut instincts when he finds himself held in the bowels of DC against his will while agents of the CIA, intent upon learning the secrets of his psychic abilities, use him as a test subject.”
For those new to this series, Mark Taylor has an old camera purchased in an Afghanistan bazaar with magical qualities. Sometimes when he develops a roll of film (the stories take place in the early part of the century when not everyone had converted to digital) he discovers pictures he didn’t take which depict future events, usually someone being hurt or killed in some way, which he then dreams about at night. However, all of these events are preventable, if only Mark can figure out enough details to intervene. Needless to say, this puts a lot of pressure on Mark.
As with other books in the series, this installment has some smaller events that Mark prevents, plus one big catastrophe-in-the-making. If the books in the series have developed a high-level formula, March into Madness conforms, yet there are other things going on that make this book unique. One large difference is the introduction of Chris “C.J.” Sheridan, the son of CIA agent Jim Sheridan (who has been a major player in the series from the beginning). C.J. plays a major role in this story and, in the process of doing so, sets up several directions the series might go. As with all the Mark Taylor books, this is an intense, unpredictable read.
Some adult language.
Not counting the prequel novel, this is the fourth book in the Mark Taylor series. The author does a good job introducing backstory that is required to follow this book and it could probably be enjoyed as a standalone. However, my advice would be to read the full series. A more complete understanding of the character’s history, especially the evolution of the relationship between Mark Taylor and Jim Sheridan, adds a lot.
A small number of typos and other copyediting and proofing issues.
Rating: **** Four Stars