Christopher Lawrence is a young, unmarried professor at a university in Macon, Georgia whose largest ambition is to be promoted to dean. But after he rents a studio apartment to a mysterious Liberian student, his only hope becomes staying alive in this contemporary thriller.
Chris lives in a big house on a lovely tree-lined street, and when Mustafa Aziz comes to live in the studio over the garage, Chris hopes to spend time with the quiet young man and looks forward to hearing his world view. After just two months, however, Mustafa simply vanishes, leaving behind a written code and an artifact. Chris can’t rest until he uncovers the significance of those items.
And that’s the moment when a curious college professor becomes prey. Joining Chris in his search for meaning is a beautiful and fearless Homeland Security analyst, Tracy Nichols.
First, the bad news: the book suffers from a lack of proofreading. There are spelling errors, many dropped words, and incorrect word usage. Too often, key words are used repetitively in sentences. This is a first-person narrative, but the omniscient author intrudes where new chapters should have begun. The timing, too, is odd. The author begins the story on June 26, not a time when college is normally in session, and yet, much of the narrative involves the campus, students, and Chris’s colleagues. All of these problems are easily remedied.
There is, however, much good news. The book, thin as it is, is packed with well-drawn characters and a solid sense of place. An action scene that occurs later in the book is a world-class thrill ride, worthy of any published author. This reader’s pulse pounded. Even in its current incarnation, the book is a quick, fun read for a rainy afternoon for those willing to overlook the mechanical issues.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.