Mortal Dilemma, by H. Terrell Griffin. Oceanview Publishing. 400 pages. Hardcover $27.95.
The Matt Royal Mystery series keeps getting better and better. Mr. Griffin continues to develop his major characters, not merely to repeat them. They gain shading, complication, and significance. Plot complications proliferate, building intrigue, suspense, and relevance to contemporary events. This time around, readers will encounter a despondent and nearly suicidal Jock Algren, a Jihadist cell, and major threats to the life of both Matt Royal and his lover, the attractive Detective J. D. Duncan. The author renders his settings vividly and scrupulously.
Having committed one too many assassinations in the service of his country, and haunted by what has become of the young boys whose father and other relatives had died by his hand on assignment in the Middle East, special agent Jock Algren is a basket case of grief. A major aspect of the novel involves whether he will get his special brand of mojo back. Or whether he should.
Jock is already a target for both torture and assassination. Those two boys have grown up and the older one, Youssef, is heading a radical Islamist squad whose plans to revenge themselves on Jock also includes wiping out his family – that is, his dearest friends Matt and D. J. Youssef wants Jock to witness their torture and death, just as they had witnessed him destroy their family years ago.
However, there is something else going on around Longboat Key that threatens Matt and J. D. A present case that J. D. is working on has reopened a cold case from three years back. There seems to be some kind of money connection. The dead woman’s brother is found to be on the island and their investigation heads in his direction. Perhaps he murdered her sister for inheritance and insurance gain, but he seems to have a reasonable argument against this motive. And then he turns up dead.
The fact that J. D. is on the case has put her in jeopardy. And that puts Matt in danger, too. Someone out there has something big to lose if exposed by this investigation. Guilty parties always fear that their secrets will be revealed by knowledgeable functionaries or accomplices. In this novel, it begins to look like a game of all fall down.
What, exactly, is at stake that makes so many murders necessary? How does this case connect, if it does, do the terrorists who are pursuing Jock for his actions in Aleppo, Syria? . . .
To read the entire review as it appears in the March 31, 2016 Naples Florida Weekly and the Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte edition, click here: Florida Weekly – Mortal Dilemma