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Reviewed by Lex Allen for Readers' Favorite
In his first novel, Forgive Me, Alex, Lane Diamond has initiated a crime/suspense thriller series with many of the qualities that put the likes of Lee Child and James Patterson on the bestseller lists. Protagonist Tony Hooper is characterized as a younger, more vulnerable, but equally determined cross between Child’s Jack Reacher and Patterson’s Alex Cross. Antagonist Mitchell Norton is ... think of the most psychologically imbalanced, brutally sadistic serial killer you’ve ever met in a book, and you’ll discover that Norton is far worse. When the demon in Norton’s head takes control and promises him a kingdom of pain, Norton decides that Tony’s girlfriend Diana should be his queen and then the blood flows. Tony is the first to suffer the loss of a loved one and this sets him on a determined hunt to find the killer.
Mr. Diamond unveils what are essentially two stories through the first-person narratives of Tony, Norton, and a couple of supporting characters. With consummate skill, Diamond bounces between the characters and events of two timelines, 1978 and 1995, and rolls them all into one neat package. A writing style fraught with potential pitfalls, but Diamond brings it off with perfection and apparent ease. While the first person point of view provides the reader full disclosure of that character, authors sometimes develop problems filling out the supporting cast. Not so for Mr. Diamond. When the story needed to be seen outside the perspectives of Tony or Norton, other characters take up the story with their own narratives. Characters like Frank, who advises, supports and renders a shoulder for Tony to lean on throughout the book. Then there’s FBI agent Linda; a mere blip on the radar screen in 1978, she provides vital professional and emotional support in 1995; or Master Ben Komura, of samurai ancestry, who trains Tony in martial arts. There’s more, much more, but I’ll leave it here for new readers to discover, savor, and pencil in the name Lane Diamond next to their current favorite authors.