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Trust Me    by Jeff Abbott order for
Trust Me
by Jeff Abbott
Order:  USA  Can
Dutton, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Jeff Abbott, author of the fast-paced thriller Fear and of last year's faster than a speeding bullet Collision doesn't slow down his writing one iota in Trust Me, which has the same kind of breath-stopping action as Robert Ludlum's Bourne series.

Readers discover the aptness of the opening quote (Alice in Through the Looking Glass saying 'I wouldn't mind being a Pawn, if only I might join') as they engage in the story, whose young hero is indeed a pawn manipulated by others for a large portion of this thriller. It opens on a 'man in a gray suit' accepting fifty million to deliver 'many times the results' of 9/11, to culminate in a massive attack code-named Hellfire.

Next we meet Luke Dantry, a grad student in psychology who has been researching 'crazy Internet ravings of vicious losers' for his stepfather Henry Shawcross, who wrote a book called The Psychology of Extremists and runs a Washington think tank. Luke calls the Internet community he's connected with for his research the Night Road. When Luke was small, his father Warren was killed by a nut who sabotaged his plane, and his mother recently died in a car crash.

Soon after dining with Henry, Luke is kidnapped by a stranger named Eric. After shooting a homeless man, Eric forces Luke to drive to a cabin in the woods, where he exchanges him for Eric's girlfriend Aubrey, who was herself taken to force his compliance. What follows is a maelstrom of action after Luke escapes and tries to find out what he's embroiled in, with both the authorities and assassins (Mouser and bomb expert Snow) hot on his trail.

Gradually Luke learns that his Night Road research is being used by someone recruiting terrorists - a first wave of attacks has been launched and planning for Hellfire is underway. What can a man on the run do to stop it? After several close shaves with Mouser and Snow, Luke tracks down Eric and Aubrey, after which he and Aubrey team up to follow the money trail. It takes them to Paris and back again and leads to revelations that turn Luke's world upside down.

Trust Me is an adrenaline rush of a thriller that would work well as a movie. Since its ending (in which the main villain continues to recruit online on the Night Road) hints at a sequel, perhaps there will be more anti-extremist adventures for action hero Luke Dantry.

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