Review of ‘The Shadow Project’ by Scott Mariani

050020-FC222After the trip to Cairo, Ben’s back at La Val still being somewhat stupid about the feeling Brooke has for him. Trouble is, this time, she turns up with her new arrogant boyfriend, a wannabe kidnap foil team leader by the name of Captain Shannon who allow his “rutting stag” mentality to get the better of him resulting in one broken arm, a damaged back, a few months recuperation and, more importantly for Ben, a £1.2million contract that can’t be fulfilled protecting one Maximilian Steiner. The latter is a super-billionaire: chateau in the Alps, top notch cars, multi-corporation empire builder, owner of the infamous Kammler papers.
It’s hard to give a summary of the story without dropping some major spoilers. Suffice it to say Ben’s more ruthless than usual as he prevents a helicopter kidnap of his employer and finds himself drawn into a case of missing or murdered scientists who are hot on the trail of proving that a pseudo-science of the Nazis was based in reality deep in the Hungarian part of the Carpathian mountains.  In a separate thread, smart home physicist Adam O’Connor is forced to try and get an old machine working at both gunpoint and the trauma of knowing his son, Rory, is being threatened with a gruesome ending. The entire plot revolves around the work of one SS General Hans Kammler, a man who draws the attention of both the Kammler Krew (a group of scientists pursuing the pure science that is meant to lie in his experiments), a group of shadowy men, headed by the (as ever) psychotic Pelham, and the Steiner corporation. It’s a bit of a mess that has Ben chasing down eco-kidnappers and east European hit squads as they try to find “the lost Grail of super-esoteric science.”
Mariani helpfully gives us a summary of what’s going on: “Missing scientists, An SS general with a strange secret. A snatch attempt against a wealthy industrialist. And now some kind of bohemian commune that sold ceramics out of a semi-derelict farm shop in the Black Forest countryside.” No gateau, though. But that sums it up nicely. There’s something else major going on, but it’s a massive plot spoiler as I said so…
It all culminates in Ben and his new sidekick Jeff abseiling down a fetid 200m chimney stack into an old Nazi cremation chamber, then shooting their way towards a rescue of everyone concerned. By the end, the author has opened Ben up to new possibilities, new long term characters, new options.  It’s all rather good, but I’ll be honest and say it wasn’t as good as numbers one, two, and four. Same standard as number three. Roll onto number six….

Categories: Book Reviews, Scott Mariani

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