This is Mark Rosendorf’s second excursion into the literary world and picks up a few months after book one The Rasner Effect ends. Mark contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reading Without Hesitation, and without hesitation I said yes!

I was certain that if this new work was just half as good as The Rasner Effect it would be a wild read. Well, Without Hesitation actually eclipses his début novel. The setting once again has The Brookhill Children’s Psychiatric facility, and once again ensconced in it is Clara Blue. Clara is just as troubled as we found her in The Rasner Effect, maybe more so. Her chances of leaving Brookhill in anything other than a wooden casket seem slim. Disliked by both staff and the other residents, she leads what can only be described as a masochistic existence.

A glimmer of hope emerges when a new therapist arrives. It does not take long for Clara to realize that The Duke Organization are reforming and that the new therapist is none other than Jen Duke. Jen is now at the forefront of the operation, having taken over from Rick Rasner. The Duke’s had seemed destined for destruction at the end of The Rasner Effect, the majority were dead or incarcerated, Jen is out to rebuild the organization to its former glory!

Without Hesitation while picking up seamlessly where The Rasner Effect left off, does take us in a slightly different direction. The heroine (I use that term very loosely) is Clara is still just 15 years old. In book one we found her having to make some difficult and life changing decisions, in Without Hesitation she is once more put in the position of determining life or death. She is viewed by most at Brookhill as a psychotic, but that is really a gross oversimplification. Clara Blue wants out of Brookhill, but at what cost? How much is she willing to pay?

Jen has established an elaborate plan to spring Clara Blue and some of the other ‘perspective’ next generation of the Duke Organization. As with most Duke operations, blood will be expected, blood will be spilled.

Clara in some ways was an unknown quantity in The Rasner Effect, she vacillated between good and evil. When Clara was pushed, she performed. Yet she never seemed to be a real part of Rick Rasner’s Duke Organization.

Jen Duke has a plan to rebuild the organization, and Clara is a key component. The Duke organization had been decimated at the end of book one. Rick Rasner was assumed dead, although his body was not recovered, and those not killed now faced lengthy jail sentences.

To free the remaining members Jen needs leverage, and that leverage might just be found at Brookhill.In fact Brookhill might also offer a fertile ground for the next generation of Duke inductees.

I do not want to include any spoilers in my review but I will say that mercenary Jake Scarberry is once again ‘invited’, well, coerced to the party.

I really enjoy Mark Rosendorf’s writings. His imagination is one of the most fertile grounds I have ever stumbled upon. It is a good job that he is only an author and not a despot determined to take over the world, because I think the world would be faced with quite the adversary!

I also think that from the way Mark ends Without Hesitation we can be expecting another chapter in The Rasner Effect. My suspicion is that Brookhill will not be the backdrop, and an old friend from the first book might well do a phoenix and rise from the ashes.

On the back cover of Without Hesitation Mark quotes me “If you are a Robert Ludlum fan then I am pretty certain you will enjoy The Rasner Effect.” I stand by those words. There is a saying when sailing, particularly when racing, the boat is in the groove. That means that it is running at its absolute best. Mark Rosendorf is in the groove!

You can order your copy of Without Hesitation by using the Amazon link above. Although Without Hesitation does stand alone as a great adventure/action novel, if you have not read The Rasner Effect yet, I recommend that you do. It gives a great introduction to the characters and their objectives. You can find my review here.

I am hoping to interview the author in the next few days, and I have to say that I am looking forward to the event. Of course I will have to be on my best behaviour, otherwise he might set the Duke’s on me!

Simon Barrett

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