I have to admit that I do have a soft spot for the ‘Gumshoe’ novel. They are generally a fast, action packed adventure into the unlikely! The traditional PI in novels is almost always a slightly seedy character, one that you would avoid talking to at a party, and certainly would not want your daughter to date! Gallagher is not your regular gumshoe though, he is a methodical man, and a critical thinker.

I am a firm believer that for a book to lure a reader in, it must have a hook in the first chapter. JP O’Donnell takes this concept and applies it in the very opening of the Deadly Codes. Just a few words can mean so much, the opening sentence is:

Sometimes a simple decision can change everything

Oh, how true that comment is.

Bill Clark and his wife Jennifer are empty nesters, Bill is a high functionary with the NSA, a cryptographer, a man that knows the countries darkest secrets. The story starts with a bang literally. It is Saturday morning, Bill’s wife Jennifer wants to go shopping but finds her car blocked in by her husbands car. Rather than disturb him, she decides instead to use his. A mistake that costs her her life. The car has been booby trapped.

The question is, who did it, and why?

It is easy to point the blame at a terrorist group, Bill Clark makes for an ideal target, but not everyone shares that idea. Jeanne, who is Jennifer’s sister certainly thinks that the culprit is much closer to home than an Islamic extremist group.

Meanwhile our favorite Investigator Gallagher has finaly been persuaded by his new bride to hang up his badge and gun and seek safety in retirement, well, not quite, but the relative safety and security of working in the corporate world.

Gallagher cannot resist the thrill of the chase, and even though he is in the process of closing down his office he accepts that ‘one last case’, Jeanne is convinced that Jennifer had a lover, and maybe the lover was somehow involved. To add spice to the mix, the lover was female.

All that is known about this mystery woman is her name Marcie Williams.  It does not take Gallagher long to get on her trail, but she seems to have disappeared into thin air right after the bombing. Gallagher is not one to quit, and keeps digging, he makes some surprising connections between Marcie Williams, and forces that might not be pro America.

Needless to say, Gallagher’s new bride Kate is less than enthusiastic about this ‘one last case’, and makes that abundantly clear by taking a sabbatical from the relationship.

As an avid reader I will not spoil the story for readers, but rest assured, Gallagher is like a dog with a bone, no stone will be left unturned until he gets to the bottom of events. Can he do what the NSA and CIA can not?

Deadly Codes is JP O’Donnell’s second novel featuring Gallager as the main protagonist. The writing style is easy going, yet fast paced. This is a book that draws you into the story from page one.

You can order your copy of Deadly Codes from Amazon.

Simon Barrett

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