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"Cries of the Lost" by Chris Knopf

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This is an amazingly fun spy caper without any spies. I was at a disadvantage not having read the prequel, but it was nothing crippling, because Cries of the Lost stands really well on its own. Dead Anyway (2012) was a finalist for the 2013 Nero Award, named for Rex Stout’s clever detective, Nero Wolf. Cries of the Lost follows the adventures of Arthur and Natsumi after the death of Arthur’s wife at the hands of a person or persons unknown, and combines enough elements of a mystery and those of a thriller, to be really excellent escapist fare. Throw in the wisecracking protagonist duo, and you have quite a delightful confection.

Arthur Cathcart cannot leave a mystery alone, and he constantly puts himself and his girlfriend Natsumi in harm’s way and back out in the nick of time. Behind it all is a somewhat confusing feud between onetime antagonists in the Basque separatist movement. The FBI and possibly the NSA think Arthur
is a member of a Basque terrorist group, when all he wants to do bring an end to the conflict and an end to the mortal danger to himself and Natsumi. It’s all done at a mile a minute, as the pair duck and weave their way from Grand Cayman to the Côte d’Azur, to Aix-en-Provence and New York City. Throw in a crooked high-ranking FBI agent, and you start to get the idea.

The deepest theme you’ll find here is the corrosive nature of ancient enmity, and a hatred the principals won’t let go. Our central couple is quite endearing, cute really, in their devotion, to each other, and electronic gizmos and hi-tech cloak-and-dagger methods are front and center.

This is a fine romp, which will divert you in ways that are well worth your time. I’m sorry I missed the first in the series. I’m not sure what follows, but the plot ends with all sorts of potential for further fun storytelling. Judging from this single entry, you can depend on this author to deliver the goods.
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