If you like tidy endings and nice crisp packages tied up perfectly with curly ribbon then Death’s Disciples by J. Robert King is not the book for you. Just when I thought I had a handle on which direction King was going to take us, he surprised me again and again.
Susan Gardner is the sole survivor of a terrorist attack on a flight she had taken. Now struck with amnesia and being pursued by both the terrorists, the FBI, Homeland Security and the paparazzi, Susan must discover who she is and what role, if any she played in the terrifying event. To further complicate matters, Susan can hear the voices of each and every dead passenger on the pivotal flight. Susan’s ally for much of the book, her protector, Sergeant Steve Krupinski, barrels along in Bruce-Willis-Die-Hard fashion – smashing things, smashing people, hotwiring vehicles, all in an effort to effort to protect our heroine. The terrorist group, Death’s Disciples, is vicious and mysterious, albeit quite vague and amorphous for much of the book. As the plot thickens and boils near the end, all is made disturbingly clear.
I enjoyed all the characters in King’s book, particularly Susan who breaks down any pre-conceived stereotypes you may form towards the beginning of the book. I would have liked to have had a little more in-depth background about a few of the more minor characters, just because I liked them. For example the Goth girl-terrorist-wannabee, Calliope Dirge; just her name alone merits more details.
King begins in first person and occasionally slides back into first person as he presents us with Susan’s varied points of views. I’m not real sure how effective this was; I enjoyed it at first, but then quickly became a little annoyed with this flipping back and forth as it seemed to break up the continuity and the rhythm of the story. But not a big thing.
Much of the story takes place in Chicago or its environs. Knowing this city well, and having travelled both its pristine shores and its seamy, grimy bowels, it was easy to imagine the chase scenes, the congestion, the crowded, milling conditions. King did well setting the background.
Exciting from page one until the last page, Death’s Disciples will take you on a run-away subway train ride from start to finish. Climb on in and hold on tight!