An FBI agent fights to stop a conspiracy to unleash a deadly virus on the world in this propulsive, exhilarating new thriller.
The discovery of a deadly virus being smuggled across the border pits FBI Special Agent James Mason and his strike force against an unknown adversary hell-bent on humanity’s destruction. In a desperate effort to contain the pathogen, they launch a predawn raid, only to find that their enemy knows they’re coming…and it’s not about to be taken alive. An explosion rips through the building, killing the majority of Mason’s team, including his partner and mentor.
Tormented by guilt, Mason returns to his home division, but he can’t seem to let go of the tragedy. He remembers seeing something inside the building before it went up in flames, something that convinces him that not only is the virus still out there, it’s merely the first stage of an even more nefarious plan. Obsessed with unraveling the plot, he launches his own investigation and uncovers a shadow organization on the brink of enacting its genocidal agenda, one carried out by a sinister mass murderer who’s been photographed at the epicenter of seemingly every historical pandemic…without appearing to age. An evil man who attempts to derail Mason’s investigation by murdering his wife.
With the help of his longtime friends—Gunnar Backstrom, a corporate espionage gun-for-hire, and Ramses Donovan, a sin merchant of questionable morality—Mason’s hunt for his wife’s killer leads him from a dark union at the dawn of the twentieth century to a network of Nazi collaborators and a conspiracy against mankind more than a hundred years in the making. Fueled by anger and driven by the promise of vengeance, he must overcome a monster preparing to unleash his virulent wrath upon an unsuspecting world if he’s to have any hope of exposing a deep-state entity that’s rooted in every facet of our society, an entity known only as…The Thirteen.
Laurence's unimpressive debut features yet another FBI agent on the trail of a complex conspiracy. Special agent James Mason and his partner, Spencer Kane, serve on an interagency task force whose responsibilities include investigating human trafficking. When an Arizona border patrol agent notices signs of smugglers, Mason and Kane follow up and find a lot of dead birds and evidence that "an unidentified group has gained access to potentially inexhaustible reservoirs of a virus similar to the bird flu," raising the prospect of a massive bioterror attack. Their investigation soon proves costly. Kane and the members of a SWAT team are killed, along with Mason's IRS agent wife. A year later, Mason gets a lead on the man responsible, who calls himself the Hoyl, after a bird with phoenix-like properties from Jewish legend. To stop the Hoyl, Mason teams with unlikely allies, including childhood friend Ramses Donovan, a criminal who "followed a civilized code reminiscent of the early mafiosi." Neither the prose nor characterizations compensates for the familiar plot. Readers will struggle to suspend their disbelief.