If you’re a fan of mystery books and thrillers, then you may have heard of John Gilstrap. If you haven’t heard of him, then go out now and buy one of his books – you won’t be disappointed.
Gilstrap, who has written more than ten books, is probably best known for his debut thriller, Nathan’s Run, as well as the books in the Jonathan Grave series (No Mercy, Hostage Zero, and Threat Warning.) Damage Control is the fourth in the series, and works perfectly well as a standalone, if you haven’t read the previous three books.
In Damage Control, private security contractor and hostage extraction specialist Jonathan “Digger” Grave (codenamed Scorpion) is called in when six American teens and their adult chaperones are taken hostage in Mexico by members of a drug cartel while there on an earthquake-relief ministry. The kidnappers have very clear demands – $3 million in ransom, and no authorities. Jonathan is hired by Arizona’s Crystal Palace Cathedral to deliver the ransom and bring the missionaries home.
It sounds like a pretty straightforward mission, and Jonathan and his partner, Brian Van de Meulebroeke (aka Boxers) travel to Mexico and hand over the money… but then things go horribly wrong, many of the hostages are lost, and soon Scorpion and Boxers are on the run with one hostage remaining, and only their team-mate Venice (pronounced VEN-NEE-CHAY, if you please, and codenamed Mother Hen) giving them technical support from their home base. The two are on the run from the US authorities, the Mexican Police (who have labeled them mass murderers) and have to use all their skills to get them back home.
Damage Control is a page-turning thriller, with a mystery thrown in – readers will be trying to figure out why the seemingly simple mission went awry, and who betrayed our heroes. Gilstrap layers different plots together into a nice neat package. Throw in some extremely engaging and believable characters, and you have a near-perfect thriller. At 438 pages, the book’s fairly long, and it is “unputdownable”! A word of warning – if you don’t have a day or two to spare, or if you must be up early the next morning, don’t start the book!