Review: The Abduction by Jonathan Holt (4/5)

Wednesday, 2 July 2014
The Abduction is the heart-pounding, adrenaline-fuelled follow up to Jonathan Holt's highly acclaimed international thriller The Abomination-a modern tale of mystery, treachery, and intrigue that moves between the physical and virtual worlds of Venice, Italy, blurring the boundary between dark fantasy and terrifying reality

An unlikely trio must form an alliance to save a kidnapped young girl and untangle a nefarious plot that reaches back decades.

Second Lieutenant Holly Boland is an intelligence analyst trained to look for clues ordinary investigators miss. When a U.S. army officer's daughter is kidnapped from an American base in Venice, Holly is sure that the mysterious abductors want more than a ransom.

Venetian police captain Kat Tapo has found a webcam feed embedded in the encrypted website Carnivia.com, a virtual Venice. It streams video of a terrified teenage girl, hooded and tied to a chair. A strand of text scrolls across the screen: "Sensory deprivation is not torture." Is the girl the missing daughter of the American military officer? Who is behind the cryptic message?

Daniele Barbo, the genius webmaster and creator of Carnivia, has never let the government access his servers, and finding the missing girl is not his problem. But then secrets from Italy's dark wartime past begin to surface-revelations that could put them all in danger. To save his own skin, Daniel must decide how far he's willing to let them in.

In a race against time, Holly, Kat, and Daniel must find the shocking truth . . . or watch as more than one innocent life is sacrificed.

Book two of the Carnivia trilogy and just as good as the first. A hard one to review this especially if you haven't read the first one. This could be read as a standalone but with trilogies it does always make sense to read them in order. I also class books like these as 'clever' fiction (for want of a better description). I often wonder whether the author's ideas will go over my head but luckily here they didn't and I enjoyed the book immensely.

I love the idea of Carnivia, basically a virtual Venice that the authorities want closing down. This for me is an exciting concept but at the same time pretty frightening, the world we live in is already too reliant on technology. When a live feed is found of a kidnapped girl tied up with on screen text saying 'Sensory deprivation is not torture' it becomes a question of whether this girl is the daughter of a US army officer who was taken from an American base in Venice. Why was the girl taken? And who was she taken by? So many questions to find the answers to and its impossible to stop reading once you start.

I would say pretty much every aspect of this book is near perfect. The characterisation, Holly Boland, Kat Tapo and Danielle Barbo. An intriguing and varied bunch of characters but brilliant. The three characters develop further in this book, it's hard to talk about this apart from to say things happen in book one, continue here and will be resolved in book three so, read in order! Danielle especially, as the creator of Carnivia has to decide whether to allow access to Carnivia's servers. Then secrets from Italy's wartime past come to the fore and the potential for danger is huge. This is where I thought the story would get confusing but I had no trouble keeping up. It's clear this is a story well researched by the author and not something that has been hastily thrown together.

The writing, some of the best I've read in fiction this year and the storytelling, combining the past with the present and doing it so well makes for a very gripping and enjoyable read. With books like this I always learn something new as my knowledge of history isn't that great beyond the things I am interested in. Extremely excited for book three to find out how this thrilling series will conclude. Gripping. Authentic. Brilliant. Not a series to miss if you can help it.

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