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    Review of SHAKEDOWN by Joel Goldman (see his website)

    Pinnacle, April 2008

    FBI Agent Jack Davis is in the process of getting divorced, he's fighting a never-ending battle to keep his daughter straight, he lost his son to a child-molesting killer, and he's afraid that his daughter's boyfriend may be a corrupt agent. Developing uncontrollable shakes is not the best way for him to deal with his problems, but that's what his body has decided to do. When he starts shaking at the scene of a mass murder--which took place on a group he was actually investigating--he's suspended from his job and given a strong message that he won't be welcomed back until the doctors give him the okay.

    But Jack is certain he saw something in the darkness. He can't just back off and let the team he built mess up the case. And when he learns that his daughter might be involved, he becomes a bulldog after any evidence that will prove her innocence. In the meantime, he's got a sexy witness expert, and a sexy near-ex-wife who both seem interested.

    Author Joel Goldman keeps up the suspense as Jack digs himself more and more deeply into trouble. Relying on friends, providing only partial information to his former co-workers in the FBI, and boning up on the techniques for reading microexpressions, Jack seems determined to learn the truth--no matter how much it hurts. For the most part, the story works. With his multitude of problems, Jack is sympathetic. That his dog loves him and two women are attracted makes him admirable, as well. Since he's doing the crazy things he does for his family, for his daughter, we're prepared to cut him a lot of slack.

    Ultimately, Goldman relies a bit too much on coincidence. It's a coincidence that the killer happens to murder right when Jack is unable to see. Another coincidence when Jack catches a look at a possible suspect running from the scene. Yet another that he happens to learn about connections between his daughter, her boyfriend, and possible suspects--connections you'd think would be closely hidden. Still, the story is strong enough that I'm willing to cut Goldman a fair amount of slack.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 5/05/08

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