AVNER, The David Rivers Series, Book 2, a thriller in e-book, paperback by Jason Kasper.

This book continues the saga of David who is approached by Ian, the only other known surviving member of his team, in his safe house area in the Dominican Republic. Ian supposedly has discovered a man who can get David to the organization that was involved in the clandestine operations, in the last of which the other team members were killed along with Karma – the one woman who could have brought some closure and peace to his mentally war-ravaged condition. David takes the chance but is subjected to a rigorous series of tortures that lead to his actual demise. The routine had been monitored carefully and controlled, however, so his heart was able to be restarted and he, along with another member of the organization are dispatched upon another almost impossible mission. The story then continues with this mission that he hopefully believes will provide an opportunity to face “The Handler”, the person responsible for his team’s demise.

As in the first book in the series, the tale is replete with extended episodes of graphically portrayed torture, repetitive killings, explicit blood and guts, and constant suspense imbedded in a high-octane action thriller plot. And the plot follows the old adage that if anything can go wrong with a mission, it will. It begins with a night parachute drop to an isolated spot in a remote part of Africa and the first hitch comes when the plane encounters severe thunderstorms and must change course. The resultant change causes the jumpers to avoid landing in the ocean, but lands them in a position 200 miles from the anticipated spot of arrival. Several more develop but the last hitch, another delay, does have an upside – it allows David to fit together a piece of the puzzle that has been missing since the beginning. And as one finally reaches the book’s final episode, he/she will be provided with still more anticipation of the same fast moving action with a little mystery thrown into the next volume.

This book, like the first in the series, has a few faults. A reader ‘spins his/her wheels’ for the first 60-70 pages until there is something to ‘grab-ahold-of’. However, once arrived it is there and the ride begins. A protagonist is offered who is patterned on the war veterans who work for the several organizations that offer guard and other, perhaps more clandestine, services for governments and/or other groups throughout the world. The author verbalizes extremely well so the selection provided is an empathetic figure. The situations are at the outer, but none-the-less possible, level of credibility. The descriptions of brutality, blood and guts are graphic but ‘tell-it-like- it-is’. And ruminations once more are set forth on thought patterns so often experienced by anyone who has experienced extended periods of life-threatening activity – a condition which science has been pleased with itself to be able to pigeon-hole and deigned to designate as a condition of ‘post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD’.

A fitting final description for this book perhaps may best be offered by somewhat paraphrasing this section of my review of the preceding book. It is a story not only captivating for the action aficionado but, even though a tale replete with action somewhat distasteful to certain readers, also provides them with periods of insight to the almost constantly reappearing thoughts of persons who have endured recurring situations of life-threatening distress – compelling material that would be well worth the time for uninitiated individuals to read.

 4*    5* Outstanding thriller-plus; -1* still a hiccup, as described.

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