"Birthday party" is a suspense thriller about the threat and incursion into our country's ideologies by an extremist group intent on inflicting maximum casualties and damage to our nation's icons of liberty and freedoms during our Fourth of July celebrations. In Seattle, the threat is met by a coalition of the Seattle police department, numerous other government agencies and citizen involvement. Captain Harry Snyder, S.P.D., and his cadre of police officers unite with the government lawmen, the United States military and, together with many brave citizens, clash head to head with those ruthless, hostile forces. It is a classic tale of terror and mayhem versus law and order, of good versus evil. With many subplots, twists and turns, the characters in the book become heroic individuals who meet and defeat this impending danger. It reaches an exciting, dramatic conclusion in an epic battle on the top of the space needle. Only one survives.
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Birthday Party is a Nail Biter of a Thriller!
Birthday Party, a thriller by Gerard Valentine, turned out to be much more than that. After what happened at the Boston Marathon, the author was quite prescient in his plotting. As we have learned since those attacks, the Patriot’s Day bombing was originally planned for the 4th of July. And while the Tsarnaev brothers are not Arabs, they were radicalized extremists, just as those U. S.-hating bad guys in Valentine’s novel. Makes the hair on your arms stand up, doesn’t it?
Birthday Party is set in Seattle. As a Seattleite, I greatly enjoyed the descriptions of our lakes and the snow-capped mountains we are so fortunate to have. The plot involves Captain Harry Snyder, his aide Clark Ester, and Sergeant Walters, all serving on the Seattle Police Force; the Seattle Times reporter Jerry Pachn and his activist wife June; the gardener Jesus and his wife Maria; seven bad guys who have sworn jihad against the infidels, (that’s us!); and the baddest of all of them, their leader Ahmed Safar. Thrown in for comic relief is the bumbling, clueless Seattle Mayor Pennies. (Pennies, as in coins? Nickels, perhaps?) As the bad guys plot their attacks for the July 4th celebrations, all of the players get to act out their parts and come together in a satisfactory conclusion.
My minor quibble with the novel is some stilted dialogue in scenes involving foreigners, as well as the writer’s use of the word “little.” When this adjective precedes “gardener” or “immigrant,” there is the danger of it sounding like a slur. However, Mr. Valentine’s dialogue absolutely sparkles when the heat arrives on the scene. The SPD cops are so authentic that one must wonder if the author is a former police officer.
Gerard Valentine is excellent at building tension for his thrilling story. When the bad guys are on the loose, taking a hostage, or approaching their targets during Seattle’s 4th of July birthday party, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Mr. Valentine’s story packs a wallop. Boom, boom! Birthday Party is a nail biter of a thriller!
Irma Fritz is the author of Irretrievably Broken and Confessions of a Predatory Lender.