Monday, March 9, 2009

"Empire of Lies" a fun read

Jason Harlow has a comfortable life with his wife and three children in the Midwest.

He's watching his children at play when he gets a frantic call from a former girlfriend. She's in New York and has to see him in an extreme emergency.

Because he is still sentimental about this woman and the excitement they had he travels to Astoria, New York. He learns that he has a daughter from this girlfriend. The daughter is only a high school sophomore and has disappeared.

Jason travels to Manhattan and finds Serena. She has been associating with a group of questionable friends and is drunk. When Jason tells her that he is a friend of her mother and says his name, Serena admits that her mother has spoken of him and that her mother told her that Jason might be her father. She acts terrified and not to take her home because they will find her and kill her.

Then she tells Jason that she has witnesses a murder and that the murderers will be after her if she tells anyone. Thinking that the right thing to do is to bring her to the authorities he starts to drive her to Manhattan but she escapes from the car and is picked up by her friends who had been following her father's car.

Jason has his doubts about his daughter's story until he happens to watch a TV show about a missing college student named Casey Diggs who was claiming that he found a possible terrorist plot. The description of the student matches Serena's victim and decides to investigate further. He goes to the authorities but they don't believe his story.

He attends a lecture of Prof. Arthur Rashid and listens to him persuade his students how the United States is against Muslims. When Jason digs further he learns that Rashid is engineering a murderous attack against an unknown target in New York but one that will lead to many casualties.

From the TV show that Jason watched, he knows that the commentator Patrick Piersall was investigating Diggs disappearance and the possibility of terrorist activity but the next day Piersall is discredited and the show taken off the air.

Jason feels that Piersall might be the only one to believe him and they meet up but Jason leaves the meeting frustrated and not knowing what to do.

He is still trying to find his daughter and decides to confront Rashid and persuade him to talk. When he does certain things are learned and the action speeds along at a breakneck pace.

This is a well written action thriller that lost some of its believability toward the end but was still a powerful story.


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