The Othala Rune

Fiction - Thriller - Conspiracy
267 Pages
Reviewed on 12/20/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite

I’ll be honest here: I like thrillers but not every thriller, especially conspiracy thrillers, are easy to follow. So many are description-heavy when it comes to settings or they are overloaded with backstories on too many characters. The result? A plot that gets bogged down in details i.e. a big yawn. But that can never be said about The Othala Rune by D.A. Dalessandro, who, as I found out, wrote the spec script for the movie Snakes on the Plane. Perhaps it’s because he enjoys script-writing and excels at it, that The Othala Rune never stopped moving along at a brisk pace from start to finish. Dalessandro’s primary tool for keeping a story going is dialogue…lots of it. For me, that’s the best approach to understanding the characters and their motivations: their words tell us all we need to know about them.

But the one exception to that in this novel is Kirsten, the enigmatic daughter of a wealthy political donor who hires a private eye, Lazarus Flynn to find her a month after she goes missing. Why would a father wait a month to track down his daughter? Is she dead or has she just run away? If the latter, then why is she running, and from whom? Flynn has his work cut out for him. He does manage to locate Kirsten, but can he believe the bizarre stories she is telling him? Her friends indicate that though Kirsten is highly intelligent, she’s a risk-taker, even a tad weird. Her father has had her committed to a sanitarium at one point. So just what the heck is going on? Who is telling the truth?

I cannot remember enjoying a political thriller as much as I did The Othala Rune. The speed with which the plot moved along, together with the behavior and exchanges between the colorful characters felt cinematic: so easy to visualize everything. Oh, one more thing that made this novel a really good read? It’s set in the 1930s. Again, without being bogged down in historical details, I watched people protesting outside the White House, and vets being ousted from their encampments. I sensed the racial and political unrest with the fear of Communism and the rise of Fascism. Yes, I experienced all that in one novel. Do I recommend reading The Othala Rune? You bet I do!

K.C. Finn

The Othala Rune is a work of fiction in the thriller, mystery, and historical fiction subgenres. It is A Lazarus Flynn Adventure novel suitable for the mature reading audience and contains scenes of a sexual nature as well as violence. Penned by author D.A. Dalessandro, this thrilling conspiracy tale takes place in 1932, when our intrepid private eye is tasked with recovering the missing daughter of a powerful political donor. But when Flynn does find this brilliant young lady, she reveals a plot involving her father that he could scarcely have imagined. Teaming up with a cub reporter with plenty to prove, Flynn begins a dangerous case that sees the future of the whole country at stake.

Author D.A. Dalessandro has crafted an absolutely cracking mystery novel that sets a fantastic precedent for intrigue and danger from the off, and never lets up on its superb pacing and twisting plot throughout. I found the early 1930s setting to be vividly described and brought to life with historical touches, and setting the work in this era leaves a lot of room for danger and uncertainty in a time before technology ruled all. This makes Flynn all the more intrepid as a central hero, using his sharp intelligence and breadth of experience with people to read between the lines in situations and aim for the truth. I also really enjoyed his interplay with Tracy Kincaid and found them to be more than a match for one another, which was refreshing for this genre of work. Overall, I would definitely recommend The Othala Rune for fans of conspiracy thrillers and detective noir everywhere.

Pikasho Deka

The Othala Rune is a pulsating suspense thriller by D.A. Dalessandro. Set in 1932, the plot follows former soldier-turned-private investigator Lazarus Flynn. After taking part in the Bonus March for veterans in Washington, D.C., Flynn attends a high-profile gala with his girlfriend and Washington Post reporter, Tracy Kincaid, where he meets Augustus Karlson. A wealthy Republican donor, Augustus asks Flynn to find his troubled eighteen-year-old daughter, Kirsten, who has been missing for a month. After following Kirsten's trail, Flynn eventually finds her, only for Kirsten to reveal her father's true nature and his insidious plot to overthrow the American government. Unable to determine who's telling the truth, Flynn follows his instincts and decides to protect the girl at all costs. To Flynn's woe, he may have put his own life in grave danger while attempting to stop a fascist coup.

Filled with shocking twists and turns, The Othala Rune holds your attention from the first page and never lets go until the end. D.A. Dalessandro spins a gripping yarn set against the backdrop of an actual historical conspiracy that could have changed the world as we know it. With well-developed characters, thrilling sequences, and unexpected revelations, the narrative never lets the reader's attention waver for a single moment. Flynn is a force of nature who tackles problems with everything he has. His robust personality and ingenious mind make him a riveting protagonist you will root for. This is a page-turner of a novel that I gladly recommend to lovers of sleuth thrillers.