Requiem for Betrayal


Publisher: River Grove Books Pages: 350 Price: (paperback) $20.95 ISBN: 9781632996718 Reviewed: June, 2023

The latest thriller from Ephraim is set largely in 1973 Paris and revolves around the confluence of a meticulously planned terrorist attack and one man’s obsessive quest for vengeance after his son is kidnapped and tortured to death.

Brad James is a singer who does contract work for the CIA. When the CIA Paris station chief informs him of the murder of a CIA operative who was on the trail of something big, James investigates. Soon, he’s entangled in a complex conspiracy involving Cuban and Palestinian terrorists with plans to attack a nuclear power plant; a beautiful heiress whose father, head of a Honduran crime family, is searching the globe for his son’s killers; and a Harvard sociology professor (Veronica Friend) who totes an anti-American imperialism agenda and is a “radiant beacon of pure evil.” As the body count rises, James must put the pieces of the puzzle together before millions die.

The novel’s pacing is brisk, and the action is virtually nonstop (although unapologetically violent and perhaps too gruesome for sensitive readers: torture sequences include the surgical removal of a victim’s eyes, hands, and feet; the execution of children; a man forced to kill his own family with a hatchet; etc.). The storyline offers bombshell plot twists. The author also does a masterful job of immersing readers in the 1970s and Paris.

However, while most of the intertwining plot threads are well-constructed and believable, Friend’s entire story arc strains plausibility. Additionally, although some of the characters’ development is impressively deep—like the Honduran heiress—other major players, like James and his former Marine Sergeant sidekick, are only superficially explored and ultimately two-dimensional.

Many readers willingly overlook this issue in thrillers where the story is strong and the pacing relentless, which is fortunately the case here. Readers who enjoy brutal, adrenaline-fueled, tightly woven international thrillers will find this novel satisfying.

Also available as an ebook.