From the book jacket:
What if everything in your life was a
lie? Things are going well for 24 year-old
Evan Casher: his career as a documentary
filmmaker is booming and his relationship
with his new girlfriend, Carrie, couldn't be
better. After an urgent phone call from his
mother, he makes an unexpected trip home to
Austin. Then the unthinkable happens. He
arrives to find his mother brutally
murdered, and narrowly escapes an attempt on
his own life. Spirited away from the scene
by an enigmatic mercenary with an agenda of
his own, Evan is confronted with a shocking
fact: his entire life has been little more
than a carefully constructed lie. Pursued by
a powerful, ruthless organization of killers
who will stop at nothing to keep old secrets
buried, Evan's only hope for survival is to
uncover the truth about his family...and his
Comment: It's standard practice for better known authors to 'blurb' (provide reviews for) books written by less well known authors. Sometimes I take these with a pinch of salt, but in this case the authors who've reviewed Panic and the compliments they pay are worth repeating.... Michael Connelly describes it as 'a ride down the roaring rapids....a hell of a page turner'; Lee Child thinks it 'an instant classic'; Laura Lippman suggests you 'don't even try to anticipate the twists and turns in this intelligent thriller -- just hold on tight and remember to breathe'; Jan Burke warns you should 'be prepared to stay up all night', and Harlan Coben announces, 'there is no question: Jeff Abbott is the new name in suspense.'
I think of the term "page-turner" as a mildly derogatory term - to me it defines the sort of book where it's possible to keep turning the pages ever faster because there's really not a lot to think about, in fact it's best if reality is suspended at least in part while reading it.
However, from time to time, especially after reading a number of "heavy-duty" books, I find a good 'page-turner' acts like a cranial drain cleaner - clearing away the sludge of concepts and characters left behind by previous books, refreshing the gray matter so I'm ready to start reading the next book with a clear mind!
If you're in the market for such a book, look no further than Panic (but before you go out and buy the paperback for $7.99, check out the shelves for 'bargain pricing' on the hardcover - I see copies in the bargain section at Amazon for $5.99. His publisher was banking on this being Jeff Abbott's breakout book - his first to be published in hardcover - but based on the fact that hardcover copies remain unsold it would seem sales haven't gone quite as well as they'd hoped.
This review was originally published in September 2005, and has been updated for the August 2006 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.
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