D'Amato keeps her characters and her readers constantly on their toes.” Chicago Tribune
“Every new D'Amato is worth waiting for.” Chicago Sun-Times
“Along with her talent for dreaming up wild, whizbang climaxeds, Ms. D'Amato has a talent for creating refreshingly complex characters.” Baltimore Sun
“D'Amato keeps her characters and her readers constantly on their toes.” Chicago Tribune
“All of D’Amato’s storytelling skills are herea lightning-fast plot, engaging characters, deftly dropped clues and an earthy Chicago atmosphere.” Publishers Weekly on Help Me Please
Mystery authors D’Amato, Dams and Zubro try their hand at a thriller with less than stellar results. After 9/11, Brenda Grant and Daniel Henderson, who worked in the World Trade Center’s north tower but were in a nearby coffee shop when the first plane hit, start a security company secretly dedicated to stopping future terror attacks. Shortly before the 2008 presidential election (which bears no resemblance to the battle between Obama and McCain), an assailant kills Sarah Swettenham, a 32-year-old computer engineer Grant knew at college, by pushing her into Manhattan traffic. The day before, Swettenham had made an appointment to meet Grant. When the victim’s personal computers disappear, Grant gets really suspicious. Cartoonish characters, including a U.S. president who watches football on TV “all day on Saturdays and all day on Sundays,” don’t help the over-the-top plot, which builds to a dramatic denouement likely to elicit some unintended titters. (Dec.)
In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, Brenda Grant and Daniel Henderson not only lost the software firm they worked for but all of their colleagues as well. Harder still for Brenda was the death of her fiancé, who headed the company. Seven years later, Brenda and Grant run a security company that allows them to finance their sideline business of finding and stopping terrorists. A few weeks before the presidential election, their company is pulled into a security/software investigation of voting machines. Overlapping with the job is Brenda's probe into the strange death of Sarah Swettenham, a former classmate and computer programmer who had tried to contact Brenda shortly before her fatal accident. As she and Daniel delve deeper into both investigations, it's clear that far more dangerous forces are at work. VERDICT Collaborative efforts are always a risk. In this case the risk didn't pay off. The writing is choppy, and the characterizations and pacing are uneven. D'Amato (Death of a Thousand Cuts), Jeanne M. Dams (Hilda Johansson mysteries), and Mark Zubro ("Stonewall Inn" series) are all solid, midlist authors with successful books behind them. This may appeal to some of their fans, but it can't be recommended to anyone else.—Jane Jorgenson, Madison P.L., WI
Voting and other escapades in a corrupt political system. After 9/11, when they escape the fate of their officemates by stopping for morning coffee, high-tech wizards Brenda Grant and Daniel Henderson open AllTech, a software company specializing in security and global antiterrorist procedures. Their enterprise draws the attention of the National Security Analysts Agency's divinely handsome minion Allen Cooper, who asks them to troubleshoot the polling machines to be used in the upcoming presidential election. Meanwhile, a college acquaintance of Brenda's makes an appointment to see her but dies before she can keep it. AllTech offices in Cairo come under attack, sending Dan off to Egypt, then Istanbul, Rome, Argentina and, finally, New York. Distant oil fields seem to be involved, a new AllTech employee is staying after hours and Dan is nearly killed. Can there be a link connecting these misfortunes? You betcha, and finding it will add more luster to AllTech's reputation while bringing down not only a billionaire presidential cohort but a president. An in-flight book you won't mind leaving on the plane, even if you haven't finished it. The three authors, accomplished writing pros all, have done far better on their own than they do in this thrill-free thriller.