Bad back, need brain candy
Trust Me by Jeff Abbott (Grand Central Publishing, $6).
When you throw your back out, there’s nothing to do but wait for it to heal (well, there’s ice, heat and anti-inflammatories, but other than that, it just takes time). What’s really necessary is distraction: A fast-paced read so well-plotted and with high stakes so that the terrible achy back recedes to the margins of consciousness.
Jeff Abbott’s Trust Me had been sitting in the queue for a while—since last winter, in fact—but it fit the bill.
Luke Dantry is a bright kid: Tech-savvy, creative and resourceful, but with the impulse control issues and and lack of experience you’d expect from a 24-year-old. He’s likeable, though, and that counts for a lot—and we also find it believable when he’s thrown in over his head.
And what he’s thrown into is pretty paranoia-fueling. He works with his stepfather for a shadowy government agency that is attempting to identify terrorists using social media. Makes sense, right? And it has the immediacy and high stakes we need from a thriller.
Then Luke is abducted at gunpoint, forced to drive to Houston, and watches as his kidnapper murders a guy. The video of murder makes it look like Luke was involved, so now the cops are after him, too.
And then he’s off, careening from one dangerous spot to another, always finding a way to get away and always stressed out by the question of who he can trust. (Get it? Trust Me? Yeah, obvious.)
On the plus side: Action galore. On the minus side: The threat from the terrorist group is never fully explained. In fact, it just seems like one extreme scenario after another, with no attempt to make it plausible or even make sense.
Good news: Back pain was forgotten. Bad news: It was forgotten because of ranting at the lack of development in what could have been a good thriller’s plot.