by Francine Mathews

Francine Mathews is a former CIA analyst who began her writing
career authoring a number of impressive mystery novels. A few years
ago she began writing about the world she knew best --- the world
of espionage. THE CUTOUT was Mathews's first work of espionage
fiction, an intriguing work of duplicity, mayhem, and death. Some
four years later, Mathews has returned to the characters and the
world of THE CUTOUT with a riveting sequel titled BLOWN.

BLOWN reintroduces Caroline Carmichael, the troubled CIA field
agent who first appeared in THE CUTOUT. After a brilliantly
frightening introduction, we find Carmichael cleaning out her desk,
having tendered her resignation due to the duplicity of Scottie
Sorensen, the CIA's Chief of Counterterrorism and Carmichael's
boss. Carmichael is pressed back into duty when a domestic
terrorist named Daniel Becker commits an act of mass murder and
silently slips away, only to strike again several hours later by
assassinating a high-ranking government official.

Carmichael's expertise is required because it appears that Becker
is a member of a domestic component of 30 April, the international
terrorist group whose leader was murdered by Carmichael in THE
CUTOUT. Becker, who seems to be waging a one-man war on the United
States government, is seemingly untouchable and unstoppable as he
moves across the eastern United States cutting a swath of violence
and death in his wake.

Meanwhile, Eric Carmichael, Caroline's husband, is hiding in Berlin
with every hand raised against him. Believed by everyone ---
including Caroline --- to have died three years previously, Eric in
fact has been functioning at the behest of Sorensen as a double
agent against 30 April. When his mission goes horribly, irrevocably
wrong, Eric finds himself pursued by both sides in the war on
terror. When captured, he becomes a liability to Sorensen --- one
that must be eliminated right away.

BLOWN picks up almost immediately from where THE CUTOUT left off.
While it is not entirely necessary to read THE CUTOUT before
picking up BLOWN, your enjoyment of the latter will be increased
dramatically by doing so. Mathews does not scrimp on the tension,
the excitement, or the surprises. From the opening pages, where a
domestic terrorist executes a fiendishly brilliant attack upon a
highly publicized gathering, to the conclusion, which contains
surprise after surprise (at least one of which you'll never see
coming), Mathews creates the sense that the reader should be
holding BLOWN in one hand and a ticking stopwatch in the

Mathews also introduces a number of new and interesting supporting
characters. Among them is an off-kilter genius named Raphael, who
literally hijacks the book. He is so intriguing, however, that you
won't care.

Full of excitement, emotion and action, BLOWN is a definite


Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on December 22, 2010

by Francine Mathews

  • Publication Date: April 26, 2005
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam
  • ISBN-10: 0553803301
  • ISBN-13: 9780553803303