By Iris Johansen
St. Martin’s Press
Iris Johansen never fails to provide a satisfying read; however, Deadlock, this month’s release of an Indiana-Jones type adventure just might be her best!
Emily Hudson shines as an artifacts expert, who is sent all over the world by the U.N. to evaluate and save each country’s historical treasures. She and her partner Joel had been sent to a small museum that had little of real value, but they worked with their team to package and load everything, working hard and fast to get out before the weather turned even worse. However, as they were leaving, Emily and Joel discovered their first truck, along the road, the men murdered. As they got out to investigate, both were captured!
Held captive, Emily was told what they wanted—a hammer! She knew the total inventory of this small inventory and knew they had not packed a hammer, especially one that was supposed to be of value; however, Staunton would not believe her and soon began intensive, horrifying torture of Joel, until he was dead. Staunton decided Emily would be given to his partner for torturing and was thrown into Shafir’s tent, only to be rescued by a man she thought of as the Angel of Death!
John Garrett was a mercenary who occasionally agreed to take missions for the CIA. It had taken his seeing Emily’s picture to convince him to go after her! But it was her anger and hate of Staunton, and later his own when Staunton killed Garrett’s friend, that started a hunt not only for the mysterious hammer for which Joel had died, but to track down Staunton and those that had backed him financially!
The hunt for the hammer—Zelov’s hammer—takes readers back to an earlier time in Russia, when Zelov had been a behind-the-scenes advisor to Rasputin who advised Tsar Nicholas. Zelov believed he would one day rule and/or be a god and professed that his hammer had magical powers. However, when he found the royal court was no longer listening to him, he worked to have them all murdered—after he had learned how the Tsar had created a path/map to his great riches.
With the CIA and MI6 “blackmailed” into staying in the background with backup help, John Garrett and Emily led the search. Revenge drove them first, but love for each other became a problem as each fought to protect the other from harm. A thoroughly enjoyable ongoing intrigue between the two overlays everything and everybody during the rest of the story.
If you have not read Johansen before, I recommend that this be your first! Deadlock’s historical artifact emphasis brings the usual treasure-hunting to play, but somehow this type of adventure never grows stale, at least not when written by this fantastic author! You just might be adding her to your “favorite authors” list, like I did many years ago!
G. A. Bixler
For Amazon Vine