Manhattan prosecutor Matt DeMarco is going to need every ounce of his toughness and every one of his friends to get through the nightmare he finds himself plunged into in Gods and Fathers, the latest thriller from author James LePore.
The failure of his marriage sixteen years ago bothers Matt, but what really kills him is the wedge that was driven between him and his now twenty-two-year-old son, Michael, when Matt’s ex-wife married an extremely wealthy Syrian businessman who showered Michael with anything his heart desired.
Reduced to seeing Michael on the odd weekend here and there, Matt finds his son to be both a stranger and a disappointment. But when Michael is arrested for the rape and murder of his girlfriend, Matt’s fatherly instincts kick into high gear. His son may be a disagreeable, spoiled punk, but he’s no rapist or murderer. Matt’s sure of it, and will stop at nothing to prove it.
When people close to the case, both investigators and witnesses, start getting killed Matt realizes there are forces at work that go far beyond his son’s arrest, forces that are as determined to remain in the shadows as Matt is to drag them into the light. Now Matt’s racing to uncover the truth and exonerate his son while trying to stay one step ahead – and out of the crosshairs – of an alphabet soup of government agencies including the NYPD, FBI, CIA, UN, and SMI (Syrian Military Intelligence).
Author James LePore has quickly risen to the top of my list of “go to” authors when it comes to thrillers with an international flair. It takes a sure hand to incorporate potentially incendiary topics like US/Middle East politics and the internal conflict between progressive and orthodox Muslims into a novel without becoming sensationalistic, yet LePore pulls off such feats as a matter of course in his writing. Similarly, in effort to be clever many authors end up concocting plots that are needlessly byzantine and head-scratchingly convoluted. LePore, on the other hand, knows how to strike the perfect balance between complicated and compelling without making the reader resort to a scorecard to keep up.
As in previous novels, LePore once again excels in Gods and Fathers at creating realistically flawed and believable characters, ones who don’t always make the best decisions and for whom a happy ending isn’t guaranteed. Indeed, Gods and Fathers makes a strong argument that in today’s complicated and dangerous world it’s often necessary to get down and dirty to claim the high ground, but also explores the notion that even if you win a piece of yourself will be lost in the process.
Gods and Fathers is available from The Story Plant (ISBN: 978-1611880298).