by Joshua Corin
American Lies is a novel that starts out with a bang, literally. In the opening chapter, a drone blows up a Muslim mosque, killing everyone inside and injuring several police officers who are there to guard it. Who committed this terrorist act on American soil? Enter investigator Xanadu Marx, a former FBI agent who was fired for alcoholism. Xanadu begins to investigate on her own. What evil will she uncover?
A second explosion claims another mosque and someone releases a deadly toxin in a local hospital. Who could be behind these attacks?
I thought the premise of this novel was interesting. But, it seemed to me that this is part of a series and the reader has to have read all the other books to totally understand the central character’s background and motivations. I felt like Marx’s story was not well documented in this book alone. There are references to other incidents that must have happened in the previous books. A short review would have helped the reader who comes into this one as a stand-alone novel. Certainly, her participation in AA and her interactions with her sponsor have a ring of truth to them, but what happened to her friend who is mentioned several times?
The story itself seemed somewhat plausible, involving the possible theft of a military drone that had been donated to the city’s law enforcement. But, when Marx falls under suspicion because she gets caught at the site? That was stretching it a bit, I thought. There was no evidence against her at all.
Also, the way the organ donation was handled was not realistic. In reality, there are waiting lists for this and people do not just get a donated organ simply because they are in the same hospital.
One thing that really bothered me was the way the book ended. I like cliffhangers just fine, but I felt that the main part of the storyline was not resolved by the end of this book. It’s like the author is planning to continue this story in a sequel. I would have preferred to have the resolution neatly wrapped up in a single novel rather than having to wait and buy the sequel. For that reason, I would not recommend this is a stand-alone novel.
It’s a good thriller if you like them, and it will be a good read, but I really think, as a reader, that I wanted it to be wrapped up more completely than it was.