James Strait is not a man to be trifled with. He stands nearly seven feet tall, plus this ex-FBI special agent has proven capable of using violence to protect himself, the people he loves, and the vulnerable of society. However, despite this, WHEN MOTHS BURN sees a conspiracy of malcontents try and take down Strait with force. The limits they go too are extreme.
At the beginning of the novel, Strait is trying to settle down to a quiet life as a worker/volunteer at a new homeless center. This plan goes awry when the love of his life is murdered. Their house is bombed, and both crimes are pinned on Strait. The former FBI agent is now framed as a wanted terrorist, which means the FBI are now after him. In order to clear his name, the hulk of a former G-man does battle with an interconnected web of foes including drug cartel members, neo-Nazis, a pedophile, and one twisted forensics expert who has a bone-deep hatred of Strait.
WHEN MOTHS BURN is an action-packed thriller with a heart of gold. You see, Strait is the quintessential brokenhearted hero. Not only does he have to cope with his girlfriend’s murder and the fallout, but, as the opening of the novel explains, he was forced to leave the FBI because he was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease (an inner ear ailment that causes vertigo). Strait’s vulnerability makes him empathetic to those crippled by injustice or otherwise oppressed. This sense of justice comes through on almost every page in this novel.
The chapters themselves are short, with almost every one of them containing a major plot development. There is no wasted verbiage in this novel; the plot moves at a record-setting pace. And despite all of violence and the harsh depictions of human depravity (the pedophile character alone is enough to make most skins crawl), this novel does have an uplifting ending that sees all of the damaged heroes and heroines enjoying some quiet time with pizza and cartoons.
WHEN MOTHS BURN is a must-read for all lovers of contemporary thriller fiction. James Strait is the perfect hero for the twenty-first century—hardened, but not hard-hearted; tough, but not brutal. Hopefully there are many more Strait books to come, and this second novel indicates that there are indeed more villains left to vanquish for Strait and his friends.
Few contemporary authors can write an action-packed thriller quite like John Eidswick, and WHEN MOTHS BURN displays this power in a true page-turner of a novel.
~Benjamin Welton for IndieReader