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Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite
In Michael Santino’s original and witty crime novella, The Frontline: Season 1 Episode 1, a small-town restaurant blows up, bringing together two very different investigators to investigate the bombing. Christopher Odacio, a special agent with the FBI, is paired with Brett Bonner, a senior police investigator, to determine the cause of the bombing and apprehend the culprits. A call made just before the bombing leads the duo to examine the activities of American Dawn, a social club turned informal militia group. As the two track the leaders of the group, they are forced to confront divergent personal and political views. They work to find out whether the disorderly, self-absorbed group is sophisticated enough to carry out the bombing or whether the initial call was just a ruse to throw them off course from pursuing the real culprit.
Michael Santino develops a compelling dynamic between the two investigators in The Frontline. Odacio is young and enthusiastic while Bonner is gruff and does not always play by the book. The two clash many times but, beneath the surface, they share similar ideals and make a great team. Supporting characters are also convincing and interesting. Dialogue is engaging and laced with humor. It reveals greater themes such as political division. Homegrown terrorism is another dominant theme in the novel. Santino does an excellent job in painting the current, complex American political sphere. The plot’s pace is swift and the outcomes of the scenes in the novel are unpredictable. The Frontline: Season 1 Episode 1 by Michael Santino is an entertaining and thought-provoking start to the series. It contains realistic characters and relevant themes.