Friday, August 10, 2018

The Awakening! Another Great Jake Vincent Mystery by Terry S. McGhee

..."Are you ready for a morning run, Jake? What say we get the kinks out about six?"
"Little early, but I'm game. It'll be dark."
"There are so many lights in this town because of the tourists. I bet DC has one of the highest electrical power consumptions of any city of comparable size. I have a one hour route I like to take. We'll run west over to Fifteenth Street, south past the Monument, Jefferson Memorial, then out onto Hains Point."
"Great," I said. "The Tidal Basin-Hains Point was a common running route for me when I worked the district. I'll never forget the eeriness of The Awakening sculpture out on the point--the terrorized face, arms, and feet sticking out of the ground."
Sam and I greeted each other in the lobby of the Lex the next morning...
We started the jog out to Hains Point on Ohio Drive with the
"Shit, Jake, that's a real human body
laid out just like Steward Johnson's
original sculpture...
Washington Channel and Fort McNair on our left and the Potomac on our right. The sun was just peeking over the eastern horizon, giving some early daylight to our nation's capital. A peek back over our shoulder showed the top of the Washington Monument just turning pink to pale yellow as the sun rose. As we approached the end of the island, Sam pointed and said, "Right over there, Jake, is where the original Awakening sculpture used to be. Now--what the hell?" Sam grabbed my arm and froze in place just as I saw what he was looking at. I thought that they might have installed a new statue

but of a smaller size. We both slow walked to the very spot. "Shit, Jake, that's a real human body laid out just like Seward Johnson's original sculpture. Stay put while I go check."
Sam finally motioned to me, and I walked over to view our grisly discovery. The yellowish, low-sodium part lights made the body look more grotesque. Sam had a small pocket flashlight and was kneeling and examining what was clearly a dead male human body buried with his face, right arm, left hand, left knee, partial left leg, and right foot protruding out of the ground. The body's posture mimicked the original sculpture. A small three-by-four cardboard sign was hanging by a string from the victim's right hand. The letters in the message had been cut and pasted out of a local newspaper. It read, "WAKE UP AMERICA. You're watching the grave of America being dug."

It's early 2017 and America is gearing up for a new president, to be elected in November. But the rumblings, the concern of many Americans has been building for many, many years. People are beginning to question the political atmosphere in Washington and early campaigning has already become rougher than usual... 

For Jake and Murphee, they were happy to be up and heading for their first walk in the morning. His wife of 50 years wanted nothing to do with either of them and promptly banned them from returning to the bedroom for at least a couple of hours... Breakfast...everything was wonderful, away from the world, far in the mountains...Until Breaking News interrupted...

Even after so many years working with the government related to security issues, Jake was still caught off guard by hearing about a released report by one of America's leading research centers, Just the Facts, regarding the growing negative view and diminished respect for America by world leaders...and that a significant political polarization existed among the American public...our country was becoming divided... Jake realized that being off from the center of activity allows people to become separated from the reality of the world situation. He was concerned more than shocked, given all that had happened during past years...

Nothing, however, prepared him for what was happening under the surface...what actions were being taken to ensure things happened as certain people wanted them to... Jake had already been scheduled to do a security consultancy for the FBI related to their physical facilities. He had worked with the agent, Sam, for many years and was looking forward to a little time, and extra money coming in during their retirement.

What he wasn't prepared for was the murders and disappearances that were happening there in Washington. There was no way he wouldn't become involved, much to his wife's disappointment and concern. As various investigations were pulled together, everybody soon realized that the victims were deeply involved in politics and their murders likely to have been politically motivated!

The conceptual storyline for those who were pulling the strings and acting as executors, was unique, yet very possible. This made for an intriguing and dangerous hunt--and Jake wound up right in the middle, even if he was really there to evaluate and recommend security improvements!

On a personal level, I truly appreciate seeing older writers, writing about older individuals who continue to be involved and interested in what is happening in the world. While the story has little to do with the actual events of that November election, it is a timely book, fringing on the reality of today's ever-increasing divide in America. I found it intriguing that many of the political thoughts of the characters could easily have been those of one party versus another...I think that attracted me more to the book than anything else... That is, are we really so different? And what is causing the great divide? 

One final comment on the fascinating book cover! I loved it...turn it upside down and see the location in Washington where "The Awakening" occurred! I enjoyed this exploration and finished the book in one setting!  Highly recommended!


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