"Traps: A Novel of the FBI"
(Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer NOV 30, 2002)With a device this large, the bomb experts would know enough not to try to move it. Its meticulous construction would cause them to assume that mercury switches were set inside, warning that the slightest movement out of plumb would complete the circuit and cause it to explode. He had also learned that the most sophisticated, and usually successful procedure used to neutralize a bomb was to x-ray it, but, as they would soon find out, he had devised a way to defeat that. Keeping his face turned away from the camera, Ziven waved at it to give the guard a few more seconds of confusion.
Conrad Ziven, tired of the lack of care the FBI has given the case of his kidnapped daughter, now missing for three years, has decided to force them to take action. He carefully crafts a bomb, and plants it inside the loading dock of Chicago's largest and most over crowded jail. He leaves behind subtle clues...he wants to get caught, just not until they realize that they have no choice but to grant his demands. Conrad wants only the best to handle his daughter's case, and the agent who manages to unravel the clues in time and discover his identity will be the one. He will then use the fact that only he can shut off the bomb as his leverage to force this agent to find his daughter.
Jack Kincaid, an agent who's recent career moves have been all aimed at keeping him as invisible as possible, and Ben Alton, who recently lost his leg to cancer, become an unlikely team. Ben has been put on desk duty...he is the bank robbery coordinator, and they've suggested he turn his attention back to that aspect of his job. He sees that a series of bank trappings (a form of robbery where a device is used to catch all of a bank's night depository earnings, and then remove them) has had no action on it, and the agent in charge of it is Jack Kincaid. He decides to go talk to him. Jack Kincaid has good reason for not working on the bank trappings. He already knows who the perpetrator is, and since Jack Kincaid isn't thrilled with the thought of federal prison, he's decided not to turn himself in. When Ben visits his hotel room, and begins to question him, Kincaid sidesteps the issue by mentioning a lead he came up with in the bomb case. Ben is much more interested in this, since he came back from leave early in order to work on it, and the two visit the house of one Conrad Ziven.
Pretty easy, isn't it? And they even find the girl's body, and the ransom, and discover the identity of the killer, a man who was killed before he could cash in his ransom and destroy the evidence. Conrad lives up to his end of the deal and diffuses the bomb. At his daughter's funeral, Conrad asks the agents a simple question...would a lone man, especially one as short as Billy was said to be, be able to lift his daughter into the crawlspace of an attic without help?
This question is what the two agents spend the rest of the book exploring, and the price is much greater than either would have paid.
At first I had a hard time liking Jack. He's just slightly sleazy, and his apathy about everything from his career to the money he steals, then looses in card games, seeps through the pages. Fortunately, his reluctant camaraderie with Ben, whose recent struggles have left him with a huge need to prove himself, polishes him up a little. As he gets the scent, you can see how bright Jack really is. With Alton's determination and Kincaid's almost preternatural ability to put the facts together, it is no surprise that a three year old case is solved in a matter of hours. The twist, when we realize the kidnapper could not have acted alone is what makes the story really interesting, because we get to see how these two work together, pitting their skills against a killer who is frighteningly ruthless.
My main comments on this book is actually a huge spoiler. If you have read the book, and simply want to see what I thought of it, please click here to read on. If you haven't, I'll finish up by saying that the book's really good. Lindsay was a member of the FBI for years, and he has a keen understanding of the politics, as well as the procedure. I also invite you, if you do read it, to come back, because I really want to share these thoughts.
- Amazon readers rating: from 4 reviews
Read a chapter excerpt from Traps at MostlyFiction.com
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Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)
- Witness to the Truth: A Novel of the FBI (1994)
- Code Name: Gentkill (1995)
- Freedom to Kill: A Novel of the FBI (1998)
- The Führer's Reserve (2000)
- Traps: A Novel of the FBI (October 2002)
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- The BookHaven.net review of Traps
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About the Author:
Paul Lindsay served in the Detroit office of the FBI for twenty years before retiring in 1993 as a street agent. He graduated from MacMurray College in 1968 and served a tour of duty in Vietnam as a Marine Corps infantry officer. He and his wife live in New Hampshire.