Category Archives: Steve Martini
Rating: 5 WaterTowers
Paul Madriani, Harry Hinds, and Herman Diggs are once again in the sights of the Mexicutioner also known as Liquida.
Not good for their health.
Jimmy Snyder was new at his job and a bit too friendly. He showed a man the inside of a super secret area where the man took pictures while Jimmy watched. After this, Jimmy was afraid for his job knowing he screwed up royally. What he did not count on was being dead. Liquida took care of all his worries, and to make life a bit more interesting, Liquida left Madriani’s business card in Jimmy’s wallet.
Knowing that Liquida is looking for him, Madriani and Diggs arrange for Sarah Madriani (now 22 years old) and Harry to disappear, while they set out to get Liquida once and for all. FYI, Liquida is very smart, and he wants Sarah then Paul, in that order.
The Old Weatherman is dying. He wants to change the course of history before he passes away. His plan includes Thorn, an operative for evil, and an old “friend” Senator Joshua Root, whom he blackmails to do his bidding.
Thorn has the plan, and sets out to implement it. At one point, Jimmy’s father gets in the way. Liquida to the rescue, and another roadblock is cleared.
Thorn’s biggest thorn in his side, however, are Madriani, Diggs, and Joselyn Cole (from one of Martini’s stand-alone books ”Critical Mass”) a former lawyer now activist with contacts in governmental high places. Joselyn happens to know Thorn (also from “Critical Mass”), and the pieces come together, for Madriani, tying Liquida in with Thorn.
The chase is on.
Madriani and company follow Thorn (with no help from the FBI) to Puerto Rico then to Washington DC, while uncovering the Old Weatherman’s master plan to change the government and history with one stunning blow.
“The Rule of Nine” by Steve Martini is a can’t-put-down book full of action, intrigue, and political commentary. For those who read Martini and know the characters, you will be, alternately, on the edge of your seat, and crying your eyes out.
This is how the books ends.
Rating: 4 WaterTowers (Martini rocks!)
Genre: Legal Thriller
Steve Martini is one of my all time favorite authors, so as soon as I saw “Guardian of Lies” in Costco, I snapped it up. If I were to summarize my review in one word: Amazing!
“To the concrete cowboys, the Mexicutioner was not only real, they knew him by a different name for the soundless way he took his victims, and always at night. He was like the mountain of water rising from the darkness, washing his victim from a tranquil beach, a kind of unexpected, rough wave–muerte liquida, “liquid death”".
Liquida is stalking his next victim.
Emerson Pike is a rare coin and precious metals investor…..with a murky past. Katia Solaz-Nitikin is a beautiful young woman of Costa Rican decent staying with Emerson near San Diego and, although Katia is not treated badly, she cannot leave of her own free will. Emerson has chosen to keep company with Katia for a reason, and that reason is about to bring Liquida into his life.
Emerson spotted Katia on a modeling web site and hired her for a marketing campaign to promote his business. He is also, for some reason, very interested in Katia’s family, and has become obsessed with some photographs Katia showed him of her mothers trip to Columbia to see relatives. In that picture there are several people in a heated discsussion one of which is an old man wearing an old army jacket. Emerson sees something in the pictures that he tries to magnify with software, but, failing that sends the pictures, via email, to a photo enhancement firm, Herrington Labs.
A few days before, Katia was shopping for food for a party when she met, by chance, Paul Madriaini. After chatting for awhile, Paul gave Katia his card and a pen with his firms name and address on it. If she ever needed legal advice, he would be more than happy to help.
This night, the party is over, and Katia has plans to escape from Emerson and return to Costa Rica. When Emerson goes in to the shower, to counteract the drowsiness he is experiencing, Katia puts her plan into motion. She grabs her stuff, grabs Emerson’s cell phone (so she can call a cab when she is away from the house) and some gold coins so she can pay her way to Costa Rica. She leaves a note for Emerson not to follow her, and flees out the garage door, thru the front gate and up into the dark section of the street.
Unbeknownst to Katia, Liquida has entered the house, killed the maid, and is looking for Katia and Emerson. He finds Emerson, fresh out of the shower, and wastes no time sticking a knife in his kidney and up to his heart helping him die a painful, bloody, death.
The scene is now set for Paul Madriani, Harry Hinds, and their investigator, Herman Diggs to get involved. The evidence the police (and Federal agents) are gathering is pointing toward Madriani as Katia’s assistant in the killing (remember the business card and pen?).
But there is more. The folks in the photographs are not all relatives…some of them are known terrorists who may be planning an attack of the highest magnitude on the the United States.
Katia’s grandfather is the old man in the pictures, Yakov Nitikin . Many years ago, he deserted from the Russian Army in Cuba with a “gun type” tactical nuclear weapon. This weapon has a yield that could completely destroy life and property in a two to three mile radius. For the past 40 years Yakov has been taking care of that weapon in the jungles of Columbia and now is the time, working with Al Queda operative Alim Afundi, to use it.
With jail time looming, and the Federal Government becoming involved in the hunt, Paul and Herman leave Harry in charge at home, and rush off to Costa Rica to discover the truth of who killed Emerson and why. And, in the process, try to save the United States from it’s worst terrorist attack ever. Will they succeed? You will just have to read “Guardian of Lies” to find out. :-)
I’ve said this before and I repeat: Steve Martini is a master.
He has, in the first 38 pages of ”Guardian of Lies”, deftly laid the foundation for the rest of the book. Nearly every piece of evidence and every complex nuance that comes out later in the book was introduced in those first 38 pages. As the pieces come together, you come to the realization that Martini is one of the great thriller writers of today…or ever.
As you may know, one year I tracked down some of the locations in the Madriani series of books while on business travel in San Diego. You may not know that I was stationed at NAS North Island in the Navy for a few months as well. So the settings of the books in the San Diego and Coronado areas bring back wonderful memories of times past when life was so much simpler (and I was so much younger).
Here is a picture of Miguels Cantina mentioned in the book. As you read “Guardian of Lies” come back here to see what it looks like.
If you want to read the Madriani series from the beginning, start with “Compelling Evidence”.
Rating: 4 Water Towers
Steve Martini is my favorite author next to Perri O’Shaughnessy. And I know for a fact that one of the O’Shaughnessy sisters absolutely agrees with me (because she told me so when we met in 2004). At the end of “Shadow of Power” Steve admits to “difficult times”, and we, his loyal and avid readers know the past few years have seen a decrease in the frequency of books. On the bright side, I see that he is touring and I take that as a sign that Steve is past the “difficult times”…we can hope and pray that is the case.
Here is the scoop: Steve Martini has no equal in the legal thriller genre…he is the best….pure and simple.
In 2002, I was at a conference in San Diego, and being the avid reader of Martini’s novels that I am, I decided to find Paul Madriani’s office and Miguel’s Cocina where he and Harry Hines meet for an occasional beer. I found them! The next two pictures show those locations and at the end of this review is a slide show with a few more pictures. Just a bit of reality in Steve Martini’s fiction world of Paul Madriani….and very cool.
“Shadow of Power” is the latest book in the Paul Madriani series. In this book, Paul’s young daughter, Sarah, is now in college (Yikes, times flies way to quickly) and he and Harry Hines are defending a man accused of murdering a famous book author.
Terry Scarborough is on a book tour promoting his wildly successful and controversial book “Perpetual Slaves: The Branding of America’s Black Race”. This book points out that the Constitution was written so that slavery was not admonished. The words are still in the Constitution and the idea that this nation, built on the premise of freedom for all, is not all it was meant to be is causing rioting and unrest. Interestingly, Scarborough states that the idea for this book came from a shocking letter written by one of our founding fathers….the “J” Letter. He promises to reveal the contents of the “J” Letter in the next book which is sure to sell millions of copies and cause even more unrest.
Unfortunately, Scarborough meets his gruesome demise in the San Diego hotel room where he is staying.
The police are quick to make an arrest. Carl Arnsberg is a down and out and peripherally involved with a group of racists called the Aryan Posse. He works at the hotel and was delivering food to Scarborough’s room when he found the body. Carl leaves in a panic, but, on his way out he slipped (and fell) in the blood leaving fingerprints on the murder weapon (a straight claw hammer) and in the pool of blood near the weapon. A ton of circumstantial evidence leads to a trial for murder.
Paul happens to be good friends with Carl’s father and agrees to defend Carl.
As “Shadow of Power” starts, Steve Martini struggles a bit. But as soon as Paul and Harry appear and the investigation and trial begins, Martini shines. The complexity of the trial, the quest to uncover all the evidence, and the depictions of the lawyers presenting that evidence along with what they are thinking and planning and scheming…….is masterful.
With humor, tense action, and intricate plotting…. Martini scores another touchdown.
Needless to say, I highly recommend any Steve Martini book (see what I said here about two of them). but, it would be good to start at the beginning of the Madriani series so you can follow his life as it progresses (especially Sarah). I believe “Compelling Evidence” was the debut for Madriani.