Alli Carson was a victim. But not anymore. She has landed a coveted spot in Fearington, an elite training institute, thanks to Jack McClure, National Security Adviser and her most loyal friend. After she was rescued from her depraved kidnapper last year, Alli thought the worst was over. But then her father, the President of the United States, died in a terrible car crash, and her mother ended up in a coma. Fiercely determined, Alli now earns the envy of her fellow cadets at Fearington. However, all that changes in as little time as one night.
That night, Alli's mother ultimately succumbs to her injuries, and Alli's boyfriend of recent months is brutally murdered at Fearington. Upon closer investigation, it appears he was tortured before he was killed. Was this a crime of passion? The cops immediately look at Alli as the killer. Despite her protests and astonishment at a somewhat blatant disregard for her rights, she is arrested and denied a chance to contact the one person she trusts: Jack McClure. Instead, her uncle, powerful lobbyist Henry Holt Carson, pulls some political strings to have Alli entrusted to his supervision. But why? He and his niece were never what one would call close. So it seems a bit out of character for him to do Alli a favor, especially one as big as this.
A series of events pushes Alli to engage in tactics she would otherwise not choose, but she finally manages to hook up with Jack. And just in the nick of time, because Jack has been recruited for his toughest assignment yet: finding Arian Xhafa, reputedly the world's most wanted --- and deadly --- terrorist. For that, he must travel to Macedonia, find his way through unforgiving terrain protected by Xhafa's men, and somehow maintain the element of surprise. Xhafa's stronghold is not only formidable, it has within its walls something that makes it nearly impossible to attack. If they can figure out a way in, they will then have to think of a way to excise Xhafa. Fortunately, they get a little help from some of the least likely people: a kid, an old flame, and some highly skilled men who appear almost out of thin air. If you asked them yesterday whether or not they would put their lives into these hands, they would have responded with a vehement "Absolutely not!" Today, though, it's another story.
The biggest challenge for Jack and Alli is figuring out who is on their side. Just when Jack thinks he has figured it out, another twist plunges them deeper into danger. And someone they thought was their enemy turns out to be their ally. We all know corruption exists throughout our world: in our government, in our police departments, in our myriad security forces, even in our own families. Eric Van Lustbader's latest thriller gives us a glimpse of what can happen when that trust is broken. Sometimes you have to rely on instinct. When the hairs on the nape of your neck are standing tall, it pays to take heed. Something is not right. Jack and Alli learn --- sometimes the hard way --- to follow their intuition, even though it may seem to go against all logic.
BLOOD TRUST spans a harrowing few days for the former first daughter and special agent Jack McClure, a masterful team. Their latest exploits will keep Lustbader's readers flipping through the pages as fast as they can, and then wishing for more. Lovers of intelligent thrillers will eat this up.
Reviewed by Kate Ayers on May 16, 2011