Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
The Five-Toed Tigress is a living legend in Cambodia and where they once roamed free and proud on the Tiger’s Dance Floor in the Cambodian forest, much of their habitat has now been stolen by man and war. Yet, deep in the forest, secreted in the ruins of ancient temples, the dens of these proud animals can still be found and they still stalk the jungle night. Author T. W. Dittmer brings us a tale that combines the mysticism of South East Asia with the harsh realities of the life of an FBI Agent in post 9/11 America. Preston Hawke is an ex-special services soldier who has left the army under a minor cloud of insubordination. When he is recruited as a possible FBI Agent, he jumps at the chance of a new career. Having finished his rigorous training at Quantico, Probationary Special Agent Hawke is sent to a small regional FBI office in the mid-west, where he will continue his assimilation into the service, under the mentorship of two women; Special Agent Deanna Tulene and Special Agent Britta Gundrum. Despite them being complete opposites in all ways, Hawke is deeply attracted to both of them. More important things await, however, as the team is caught up in a potential terrorist attack on a planned inter-faith rally that will test the new team member to his limits. Never far away, though, are the memories of Cambodia and the five-toed tigress – all, it seems, is not as it appears.
I absolutely loved Five-Toed Tigress. T. W. Dittmer has managed to skilfully combine two disparate arcs across two continents into a thrilling and action-packed adventure that twists and turns in unexpected ways. The characters are the stars of the story, especially Britta Gundrum who, despite her Amazonian appearance and manner, shows a tender, loving side that was capable of melting Hawke’s heart. The story seamlessly flowed from the Cambodian jungles to the stark realities of FBI gun battles with terrorists and the political machinations of the various intelligence agencies in the United States. The author’s knowledge of his subject was apparent and his writing style flowed with such ease that a good, solid novel was easily read in a short time. The action scenes were graphic without being gratuitous, as were the minor sexual scenes. I don’t know if the author is setting this book up as the beginning of a series featuring these characters, but I do hope so as there is now so much more to look forward to as the team moves on into their new assignment. The little twists and turns the plot took were surprising and yet gratifying. It takes a lot to trick this reader, but Dittmer managed to do that in a couple of places. I can highly recommend this read to all lovers of action thrillers and military/police dramas. I look forward to reading more from this talented author.