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Publisher: Joe Conlan

Nameless by Joe Conlan is a thriller focusing on two men, both of whom suffered tremendous adversity as children. While one chose the path of law enforcement, the other chose the path of evil. When their two paths collide because of one woman, blood will flow.

Daniel Falcone is a rising star in the FBI, although his future wasnít always so bright. As a teenager, he inadvertently caused a death in his family and was never quite forgiven by his father. He thought of throwing it all away, but instead decided to pursue a life of righting the wrongs of the world with a career at the FBI.

On the flip side, the other manís upbringing was quite different. Born to a drug-addled prostitute, he was never even given a name and suffered abuse at her hands from birth. Between being starved, beaten, and passed around to her johns who wanted something a bit different, he grew into an introverted, rage-filled shell of a human. He escaped this life as soon as he was able and embarked on a life of bringing pain to all of those who reminded him of his abusive mother. He took on the name Shem Chassar, Israeli for ďwithout a name.Ē

The two men would cross each otherís paths because of Annie Bryan, Head of Security for King Cruise Lines. Annie is a beautiful woman who had once been the love of Danielís life, but instead of marrying him, broke off their engagement. Despite this, they still remain friends even though Daniel now married to Deborah and has two young boys. Shem, on the other hand, discovered Annie while working on one of the cruise liners honing his skills as a serial killer. He became obsessed with having her and found Daniel to be a speed bump in that endeavor.

As Shemís crimes committed across the world slowly come to light after he targets someone close to Annie, Daniel and his team become involved. What better way to get rid of Daniel so that he can have a clear shot at Annie, then to frame him for a heinous crime. Daniel finds himself wondering if he is being punished for transgressions of the past or present, meanwhile Shem is left unencumbered to do his terrible work, with Annie as his number one target.

To go into the story any more than that would reveal way too many plot points, so I will leave it at that. While I was initially intrigued by the thought of these two men, both having rough childhoods but following completely opposite paths, I found myself losing interest in the characters. None of them are likable people, quite frankly. Daniel is an FBI rock star, but he lusts for his old girlfriend even though he has a beautiful wife who loves him. Deborah, on the other hand, is whiny and sometimes shuns Danielís physical attention because of some childhood occurrence that while sad, didnít really seem to explain her actions and appeared unnecessary to even include. Annie is probably the most annoying, being a beautiful and successful woman who had Daniel, then let him go, and now wants him back simply because he is unavailable. Obviously, Shem goes way beyond unlikable and is downright despicable and disgusting. While itís true that you donít have to love the characters in a book, you do have to care what happens to them and I didnít find myself compelled to see what would happen.

Additionally, the gore and graphic sex is completely glorified in Nameless and although I have far from a delicate stomach, I thought a good bit of it was pretty sickening. Iíve read plenty of serial killer books in my day and honestly, that is my favorite genre, but I thought the gruesome gore blended with sex was overkill, both literally and figuratively. Also, parts of the book were simply not believable. I am an admitted forensics nerd and between my Criminal Justice courses in college and my ardent love for C.S.I., I just found it difficult to believe that someone could be framed in the way it was handled in this book. Epithelials are found on the inside of clothes and on body parts and any FBI agent who misses that isnít worth his salt. Thatís all Iím gonna say on that. Also, itís hard to believe that someone with zero education and socialization would become a computer genius, wealthy stock wielder and security whiz kid. I just didnít buy it.

While I canít say parts of Nameless werenít interesting, overall it just wasnít that thrilling a read for me and I found it hard to get through, at least until about the mid-point. This book took me several weeks to read and typically, I blow through a book of this genre in a few days if I am into it. Click on the Amazon link below to get a 20-something page preview of the book and if you enjoy what you read, Nameless might be for you. It just wasnít for me.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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