Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
About the Book
Title: The Kill Box (A Jamie Sinclair Novel)
Author: Nichole Christoff
Genre: Thriller / Mystery
In an intense thriller that’s perfect for fans of Lee Child or Lisa Gardner, security specialist and PI Jamie Sinclair tackles a cold case that could cost her the one person who means the most to her.
Hardworking Jamie Sinclair can’t wait for the weekend. She plans to be off the clock and on the road to wine country with handsome military police officer Adam Barrett. But when a strung-out soldier takes an innocent woman hostage and forces his way into Jamie’s bedroom, everything changes. Jamie’s never seen the soldier before. But he’s no stranger to Barrett—and with one word he persuades Barrett to pack a duffel and leave Jamie in the lurch.
Jamie cannot fathom why Barrett would abandon her without explanation. But as the consequences of an unsolved crime threaten to catch up with him, a late-night phone call sends Jamie racing to Barrett’s hometown in upstate New York. In a tinderbox of shattered trust and long-buried secrets, Jamie must fight to uncover the truth about what really occurred one terrible night twenty years ago. And the secrets she discovers deep in Barrett’s past not only threaten their future together—they just might get her killed.
Nichole Christoff is a writer, broadcaster, and military spouse who has worked on air and behind the scenes producing and promoting content for radio, television news, and the public relations industry across the United States and Canada.
Nic’s first manuscript won the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart®. Her second won the Helen McCloy-Mystery Writers of America Scholarship. Nic has also been named as a finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense and Killer Nashville’s Claymore Dagger.
Nic has sipped champagne at the birthday celebration of His Majesty,
the King of Thailand, played party games at the residence of the British High Commissioner, and learned to make sushi from the chef to His Excellency, the Ambassador of Japan. When she isn’t penning her latest novel, Nic teaches Creative Writing at a small, private university.
Purchase and other Links:
Other books in this series:
Her debut thriller, The Kill List: A Jamie Sinclair Novel, was a December 2, 2014 release and the sequel to this was The Kill Shot: A Jamie Sinclair Novel both from Random House’s Alibi (click on the title to view my review of these novels and access buying links.
My review of The Kill Box . . .
This is the third book in the series and I’ve been lucky enough to read and review the earlier two. Whilst this book may be read as a standalone, I suspect that readers will benefit from having read the earlier two novels as so many things are continuing from events, relationships and actions occurring in them.
Once more this is a superbly written story which keeps the reader on the edge of their seat from the very beginning, a real page turner that keeps the reader enthralled with revelations happening throughout but the most critical being saved to towards the end!
Again, there are murders, double dealing, secrets to be revealed and it is filled with suspense. A roller coaster ride with plenty of surprises en route – keep your eyes open, you’re never quite certain what will happen next! A superb example of romantic suspense written by a true master of the genre and a story and series I have no hesitation in highly recommending to anyone who likes suspense filled thrillers with a hint of romance.
Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley, too, for letting me read an ARC of this book in exchange for this, an honest review.
To tempt you further – here’s an excerpt from the novel:
“What kind of private investigator wears silk to a sting operation?” Marc Sandoval grumbled.
His fast hands were full of my satiny charmeuse shirt, and I fought to control a shiver as the fabric slipped along my skin. The audio technician at my elbow pressed a palm to the headphones she wore over her pixie cut as if she were listening to a classified communiqué. But she couldn’t fool me. She’d been getting a kick out of the play-by-play between Marc and me all day. And her smug smile said so.
Marc, in the meantime, gave my shirttails another tug. “Damn it, Jamie. You don’t even have room under here for a Kevlar vest.”
“I’ve got room for a listening device,” I reminded him.
And the listening device was all that mattered to me.
Beneath my blouse, taped to my chest, the microphone I wore was so sensitive, it would register my heartbeat if the thing broke away from its adhesive and slipped south along my breastbone. Its chilly wire snaked across my ribs before Marc fished its connector from the hem of my top. He snapped the end of it into a transmitter. And he clipped the transmitter to my trousers’ waistband at the small of my back. But even as the tech fired it up for another sound check, Marc’s hands hesitated like he wasn’t quite ready to let me go.
I tossed my dark ponytail over my shoulder, took a seat on the edge of the porcelain sink behind me, and shot him my best don’t-get-sappy-on-me smile. “Come on. This private investigator is a security specialist. You ordered her to look like a woman with both feet on the corporate ladder. Silk shirts are part of that look. Kevlar isn’t.”
And this was true.
Powerful women in Washington, D.C., wore elegant underpinnings, finely tailored suits, and exquisite accessories at least six days a week. Thanks to my tailored trousers and silk blouse the color of a politician’s blush, I fit perfectly into that crowd. In fact, I fit in so well, Marc had arrested me when he’d met me two weeks ago.
Because Marc Sandoval was a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency.
And at the request of my client, I’d posed as a pharmaceutical corporation’s upper-level grunt—ready, willing, and able to bribe the Food and Drug Administration.
That’s how Marc and I came to be holed up in a closed-but-crowded ladies’ restroom in the middle of Reagan National Airport on a Tuesday afternoon in late October. His six-man tactical team, dressed head-to-toe in riot gear, knelt on the floor’s dull and dingy tiles to check over their weapons. And his communications crew fiddled with a bank of portable monitors blocking the bathroom’s row of hand-dryers. Those monitors would give us a bird’s-eye view of our approaching target: a bent FDA official named Stan Liedecker.
Before the advent of the FDA, anyone could make a profit by adding anything to food, drink, or medicine and selling it to the unsuspecting public. And I do mean they could add anything. Opium and arsenic, cocaine and copper turned up in products from cosmetics to children’s cough syrup.
But the Food and Drug Administration put a stop to all that.
Now drugs are manufactured and marketed under the FDA’s uncompromising eye. Safety has become big business. And no business is bigger than today’s pharmaceutical industry.
Case in point: Hudson Paul, my client and the chief operating officer of a firm called Pharmathon, had money to burn. Located in Tysons Corner on the edge of D.C.’s infamous Beltway, Pharmathon was one of the best and brightest drug companies in the USA. But, as Hudson explained, sitting in a guest chair in my Georgetown office, Pharmathon was also one of the top-grossing pharmaceutical companies in the entire world—with both its thumbs buried deep in the industry’s $300-billion pie.
Money that large can make people do stupid things. And Hudson had come to me because one of his top employees had done something very stupid indeed. A frustrated vice president had tried to bribe Liedecker to allow a problematic Alzheimer’s drug to bypass clinical trials—and hit the market untested—just so the competition couldn’t claim all the profits that would be up for grabs while Pharmathon worked out the kinks in its formula.
Hudson found out and fired the guy before any money changed hands. Or any patients stroked out from taking Pharmathon’s unproven pills. But that didn’t stop the situation from going from bad to worse.
One night, Liedecker, pissed that he never got his payoff, cornered Hudson in Pharmathon’s parking lot—with his hand open and itching. In no uncertain terms, he invited Hudson to pay up so he’d hush up. And if my client didn’t meet the blackmail demand, Liedecker promised to use his FDA clout to shut down Pharmathon in its entirety—and see Hudson Paul charged as the brain behind the vice president’s attempted bribery.
I took Hudson’s case and posed as his most trusted employee. Near a hamburger stand on the National Mall, I met with Stan Liedecker to talk terms. But unbeknownst to me, Marc Sandoval had the man under surveillance.
And Marc was damn good at his job.
So he arrested me before I reached my parking spot.
When Marc learned I was a PI, he’d thundered like a fallen angel. But after he’d read me the riot act, it dawned on him: Stan Liedecker believed I would buy him off. So if Marc allowed me to give Liedecker his cash, Marc could arrest the bastard with dirt on his hands.
Marc’s own hands were quick and strong. I’d found that out when he announced he’d wire me up himself. With the self-assurance of a neurosurgeon, he’d loosened the impeccable knot in his ruby-red tie, rolled up the sleeves of his made-to-measure dress shirt, and ordered me to unbutton my clothes. But despite Marc’s overabundance of confidence, I didn’t miss the crease of concern marring his forehead. Or the way he kept muttering about me and Kevlar.
“Relax,” I told him. “I don’t need Kevlar. Liedecker’s harmless, and I’ve got you and your team to back me up.”
“Just don’t test that theory, all right?”
Marc sent the sound tech on her way, snatched my charcoal-gray suit coat from a hook on the tiled wall, and handled it with all the finesse of a bullfighter. When he helped me into it, his fingertips lingered on my lapels. And if I didn’t know better, I’d have said the evening star sparkled in his obsidian eye.
“Be careful, Jamie.”
“I’m always careful,” I replied.
And I meant it.
Marc opened his mouth to say something more. But an agent manning a monitor interrupted him. “Time to boogie.”
Thanks to Enchanted Book Promotions for organising and providing materials for this Blog Tour – but the review is all my own opinion of the ARC I read, courtesy of Alibi and NetGalley!