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Reviewed by Darryl Greer for Readers' Favorite
Eyes in the Cave is the fifth in the Detective Pete Nazareth series by author R.H. Johnson. For those who’ve read the fourth in the series, The Kirov Wolf, this story follows on from its ending. Dalton Stark, once the CIA’s top spy and a one time friend of Nazareth, is the world’s most dangerous man. He’s escaped, he’s on the run, and there is no way he’s wasting another day of his life behind bars. Such is the concern the US president, Roland Armstrong, has for the nation’s — and the world’s — peace with this man roaming free, he has enlisted the help of Nazareth and his wife, Tara Gimble, whose detective skills are beyond legendary, to track him down.
Nazareth and Gimble, much to the chagrin of the nation’s top spooks, are to report directly to the president. Having planned years in advance for the day when he might need such a hiding place, Stark has set himself up inside a cave in Maine’s Acadia National Park with communication and other gadgets that would impress 007 himself. He knows he cannot remain there long, especially when he discovers that Nazareth and Gimble are on the case, so he plans to escape to Canada with the help of some equally shady characters. The intrepid detectives suspect he is in the area, but need help from the local constabulary. They can get it, provided they help out with a couple of local crimes, including a series of murders that have been perplexing the locals. There’s no shortage of murder and mayhem as Nazareth and Gimble move closer to their quarry. But will they get their man? The answer is not as cut and dried as you might think.
As with The Kirov Wolf, R.H. Johnson gets his latest Nazareth thriller off to a cracking start. There’s drama from beginning to end. Move over, David Baldacci, you’ve got company! Although a fictional work, Eyes in the Cave draws some interesting analogies with current day reality — a so-called “right wing” US president, a belligerent North Korean president, recalcitrant Russians. They’re all there. And of course all the usual suspects: psychopathic serial killers, small time local crooks, international spies completely devoid of moral values, SWAT teams and every type of law enforcer in the country. As the story nears its finale, there is one surprise after another. It’s a relief to stop and take a breath at the final period. Highly recommended for lovers of thrillers.