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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
The Willing is a gripping and imaginative novel written by Gary Smith. After the death of his wife, Warren Steelgrave makes his way to Italy, where his family had originated. After he is welcomed home, Warren commences Italian language studies at a school in Florence, where he meets Cynthia O’Brian (Cindy). Each day after school, they have coffee and talk at a nearby cafe, until one day he declares his love for her and asks her to come away and meet his family over the holidays. Cindy says she needs to do one thing and then she will go, after which time she vanishes. A thorough investigation reveals that Cindy and her husband are involved in money laundering and terrorism and are wanted by Homeland Security back in America. Further investigation reveals a corrupt member of Homeland Security. When Cindy confirms the latter, Warren does all he can to assist Cindy in getting to the only evidence that will clear her name, but with Homeland Security close on their tail, time is running out before they both end up dead.
I was absolutely intrigued by The Willing, which was so incredibly believable and with no detail left out. The initial part of the story almost mimicked my own life, with moving to Europe and engaging in full time language studies in order to integrate. I found it fascinating that the system is virtually the same in each European country. Gary Smith is quite clear in almost all aspects of the story, such as conveying the emotional distance between Warren and his wife prior to her death, and how he was frustrated that his children, who had not contacted him more than once or twice over the previous ten years, were suddenly ringing him every day and telling him how to grieve. The Willing is a must-read for all lovers of suspense, romance, conspiracy, corruption, and attempting to bring down the bad guy, no matter how far up the food chain he might be, against all the odds.