Monday, September 12, 2011

Monarch Review

by Michelle Davidson Argyle
Rhemalda Publishing

Nick's career as a CIA agent has led to many secrets in his life, from the distrust of his daughters, Clara and Violet and their mutual hatred of each other, to the betrayal of a trusted associate and the suicide of his wife, lies have become a part of what he does. But now he is wanted by both the CIA and Ferriera, the Brazilian drug lord he was assigned to bring down, for a murder he never committed. In his quest to clear his he visits the Bed and Breakfast of Lillian Love, an old and brief flame he has never quite been able to get out of his mind. He hopes that her vacation house will be the perfect place to hide himself and his daughters without too many questions asked, but the betrayal of trust runs deeper than he thought. As he returns to Cuba to dig up his past he wonders exactly who he can trust, including himself, with danger infiltrating itself into every corner of his life.

MONARCH is both an exciting thriller and character driven love story, full of gun fights, kidnappings, ex-lovers, and broken marriages. But above all it a journey through hard, cold reality and human pain and destruction, to hope and new beginnings. The prose is vivid and poetic without being overdone, while the plot is both fast paced and intricate, eventually merging several plot lines into a riveting climax, transcended by the strength each character discovers for themselves, and eventually ending in forgiveness.

The strangest thing about my personal experience with this book is that the settings kept mirroring the place I read it. I started reading it on vacation before I knew that a good fifty percent or more takes place in a kind of hotel, then I went swimming just before the first scene in the lake and then hiking just before the first scene out in the woods. An eerie coincidence to say the least. Almost made me think there was a drug lord after me. Thrillers aren't usually my genre (though I will read an Elizabeth George mystery ever now and again) but good writing is and MONARCH was full of that. It's definitely worth a read if you like good, honest characters with equal parts selfishness and heroism, and a storyline laced with excitement and romance.