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The Gatekeeper    by James Byrne order for
by James Byrne
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2022 (2022)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

James Byrne's The Gatekeeper is a military thriller, though it doesn't involve typical military personnel. Its lead is retired mercenary soldier Desmond Aloysius 'Dez' Limerick, whom readers first encounter on an op in Algeria. Dez's mates call him their gatekeeper, responsible for 'Transitions an' times. Duality an' doors. Passages an' endings.'

Six months later, he's in California, playing bass guitar in a club at the Hotel Tremaine. After the gig, he shares the elevator with a classy, rich, sophisticated woman (Petra Alexandris) and her two bodyguards. Looking out his room window, he spots a sniper. Dez foils an attempt to kidnap Petra, Chief legal counsel of military contractor Triton Expeditors and daughter of its CEO.

She then hires Dez to help her find out who embezzled over a billion dollars from Triton. It's soon clear that it was an inside job and that there's a lot more going on than financial finagling. There are anarchists and right-wing militias deliberately stirred up near a nuclear power station, with events orchestrated by the head of Patriot Media - and there's a Russian connection.

Of course, Dez does what he's so good at, with some local help, and with Petra's counsel. He stops the bad guys in their tracks. He can't save Petra from betrayal close to home, but he does have her back throughout. The Gatekeeper is an explosive read.

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