Tuesday, May 17, 2016

BLOOD FLAG by Steve Martini

    With the first Paul Madriani novel hosts of readers became fans eagerly awaiting his next adventure, and they have not been disappointed.  Smart, courageous, humane Madriani has attacked each suspenseful case until its solved and the bad guys have gotten their just due.  However, with his 14th thriller, Blood Flag, there is a difference - Madriani and his partner Harry Hinds are rich following an unexpected windfall.  There couldn’t be two happier California lawyers until Emma Brauer walks into their offices.

    Emma’s father, World War II veteran Robert Brauer, died recently under mysterious circumstances.  Emma is seen as assisting his demise, sort of a mercy killing.  She vehemently denies any such things and tells Madriani about a package her father received several days before his death.  While the package which was left to him by a member of his World War II unit held only a key and a slip of paper it frightened him.  He asks Emma to take the package out of their house which she does and shortly after that their home is vandalized.   Emma is convinced that her father was murdered and the package had something to do with it. 

    Madriani agrees to take her case, but there is a slight hitch.  Emma is concerned about her dog when she is taken to jail.  Sofia, Madriani’s  attractive young assistant volunteers to go to the Brauer house and get the dog.  Tension mounts when Sofia doesn’t show up for work and days later her body is found by the side of a road.  She has been murdered.

    With her death Madriani is more determined than ever to find answers which takes him on a strange chase against formidable enemies who want a Nazi relic called the Blood Flag that is supposedly stained with the blood of Hitler’s followers.   Neither the lawyers nor the U.S. government know that the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad also want the flag and will evidently stop at nothing to get it. 

    When Madriani looks into records he finds that other members of Brauer’s military unit died under questionable circumstances.  It soon becomes a race against time for him to discover the secrets of the flag in order to prove Emma’s innocence and find Sofia’s killer. 

    Sorry to say that for this reader the plot seemed a bit contrived and even predictable with some unnecessary add-ons.  Nonetheless, it is a Paul Madriani story which is what fans have been waiting for.  Count me among them as I await the next from Steve Martini.

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