by Steve Zettler
I don’t typically read thrillers, but do when they’re written by Steve Zettler. He’s a natural!
Set in 1998, TWO FOR THE MONEY story in particular is a fast, fun read that’s spot on, primarily because the subject matter deals with war vets who get entangled in high-stakes drama related to past actions taken during the Panamanian Invasion when Manuel Noriega was dictator. The setup rings true due to the author’s experience as a US Marine Corps veteran.
What I really love are the characters of this high-speed story. We start with Sam Christie, an ex-Dignitary Protection agent who’s in South Philly during a Christmas snowstorm to pay homage to a former colleague killed in the line of duty. Intending to visit his friend’s mother after a church service, he instead meets Tess DiLionetti and the two smart, dry-humored pair quickly fall into a steamy love affair that quickly turns to the kind of love where each watches out for the other.
While still in town, Sam is summoned to a nearby hospital at the behest of a patient, a legless vet named Ike Hinton, who wants help retrieving Noriega-era loot. Soon we’re on our way to Panama with Sam and Ike; a State Department temptress named Charleton and her mysterious friend, Abby; powerful Colonel Morcilla and his flunky, Rolando; and a host of other shady characters. From there we get a wonderful look at 1990s Panama as the pieces fall into place and the elaborate scheme unfurls at no small risk to the protagonist.
You'll also find my review on Goodreads.
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THE FALCON, THE WOLF AND THE HUMMINGBIRD a historical novel
BLISS ROAD, a memoir
WINTER LIGHT, a novel
THE WIND THIEF, a novel
GROWING GREAT CHARACTERS, a resource for writers