Monday, June 28, 2010
The Rule of Nine: A Paul Madriani Novel
by Steve Martini
The Rule of Nine is the 11th novel that Steve Martini has written in the Paul Mandriani series. It is a sequel novel to the Guardian of Lies. The first nine novels were legal thrillers that centered on Mandriani as a defense attorney in the California legal system. In the last novel, Guardian of Lies and this one he has moved into the spy thriller genre. I don’t think that the plot and writing are near as strong in the last two books as in the earlier ones. Rule of Nine follows on the attempted nuclear attack in San Diego that was the core plot item in Guardian of Lies. One of the perpetrators of that attack stalks Mandriani, his daughter and other good guys. Another terrorist is planning attacks in NYC and Washington DC, with the US Supremem court as the ultimate target. The author introduces a love interest for Mandriani, Jocelyn Cole an NGO executive devoted to eliminating WMDs. As is usual with Martini’s books the characters are well drawn and developed enough that you care what happens to them. The plot progresses in a very straightforward way with few surprises. Mandriani and other good guys work to foil the attack but a number of loose ends are left for the inevitable follow-up in the 12th novel in this series.
While this was a good thriller read (I finished it in a little more than a day), I don’t think that Steve Martini fans will enjoy this book as well as some of his earlier ones. If you are looking for the terrorist/spy thrillers Vince Flynn and Brad Thor are better at it than Martini, if you are looking for legal thrillers try some of the earlier Martini books like The Judge, The Attorney, Prime Witness.