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Quantico Rules    by Gene Riehl order for
Quantico Rules
by Gene Riehl
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2003 (2003)
Hardcover, Audio
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Gene Riehl, the author of Quantico Rules, is a former FBI agent and current terrorism analyst for a major broadcast group. He knows what he's talking about, as he gives us an FBI investigation that strays into dangerous territory. His flawed hero, Puller Monk, lies to the Bureau about his compulsive gambling habit, and is constantly in debt to support the non compos mentis father, 'The Pastor', who abused him throughout his childhood. Puller's on-again-off-again significant other, Dr. Annie Fisher, is an alcoholic (AA member) veterinarian.

Monk is an FBI Special Inquiries Squad supervisor whose team, in particular agent Lisa Sands, is running a detailed background investigation on a Supreme Court presidential nominee. Like Monk, Judge Brenda Thompson is telling lies. As Puller and Lisa follow up anomalies, they find that another (huge) FBI agent, named Robert Bennett, has been there before them, and soon Monk has a close and violent encounter with this giant at a murder scene. Despite being warned off the case by Monk's boss, Assistant Director-in-Charge Kevin Finnerty, Puller and Lisa continue to dig themselves into deeper and deeper trouble.

There's a hilarious interview in a nursing home with the candidate's grandmother, Prudence Williams, who tells the agents that 'Old sucks'. There's a French connection at the highest levels, and betrayals that go far back into the history of the Bureau itself. The team that Monk assembles includes a 'homicide-dick sherriff', an 'ex-prosecutor', and a 'tennis-playing French spy', ranged against the full power of the FBI and its SWAT teams. Even straying from strict legal procedures into 'Quantico rules' may not get the good guys out of this one. More murder and mayhem lead into a violent, ethically questionable, but satisfying ending.

I recommend Quantico Rules to you as an excellent thriller, which also addresses the question 'who will watch the watchers?' critical to the safeguarding of democratic societies.

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