Blood Price Mass Market Paperback – Apr 7 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Albanian smugglers, Bosnian guerrillas and Central American drug dealers populate Evans's colorful transcontinental storyof self-preservation and harebrained derring-do (after Dark Places), starring Paul Wood, an unemployed 29-year-old computer programmer. Paul, a Canadian living in San Francisco, and his beautiful Croatian-born girlfriend, Talena, attempt to save their fraying relationship with a trip to Sarajevo. (The year is 2003.) There, Paul morphs into an inadvertent action-hero when he rescues a South Asian boy and returns him to his family. In the process, Paul encounters Sinisa, the ruthless head of a multimillion-dollar people-smuggling ring, whom he turns to again when Talena's childhood friend Saskia needs his help getting to America. But there's a catch: Wood must design a "hacker tracker" program for the deranged smuggler in exchange for Saskia's freedom. From Albania, where Paul works around the clock to complete the program, he, Talena and Saskia find their way home via Belize and Mexico (Sinisa embroils them in drug smuggling, too). Fast-forward three months, when Paul and his friends hunt down Sinisa and his goons at the Burning Man art festival in Nevada. Death and destruction ensue, of course, topping off this highly readable, inventive thriller,.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
The real appeal of Evans' hero, Paul Wood (who first appeared in the nail-biter Dark Places, 2004), is this: at the same time that he's working as a freelance Internet designer, hunted by enemies and saving an abused woman, he also feels that he's a slacker and a goof. This gives his latest suspense story an undercurrent of wry humor that should make readers care about what happens to this fully fleshed hero. Wood uses his computer skills to support his passion for traveling. The novel starts with Wood and his girlfriend in Sarajevo on a visit, which quickly spins into chaos when they stumble on a people-smuggling ring and discover that the girlfriend's sister is horrifically abused by her husband. This is a chase story (from Sarajevo to Albania to Latin America and then Nevada), but Wood backs up the suspense with insider information about the lands he's careening through. A fantastic read for armchair paranoids. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Evans' _Blood Price_ is so fresh you almost expect its events to show up in tomorrow's headlines. Readers don't get to shy away from today's ugly truths for much longer than protagonist Paul Balthazar Wood does, whether those truths are the aftermath of Sarajevo or the wreck that is Paul's relationship and career at the start of the book. Nor is Paul a former CIA agent or some other all-too-typical military hero; he's an out-of-work Canadian programmer, albeit with a few tours in the world backpacker and hiker scene, and the adventures from Evans' debut novel _Dark Places_.
From the Balkans to Burning Man, refugee smuggling to cyber-crime, _Blood Price_ spans the globe and an ever-widening range of topics that Evans clearly knows his way around. Despite brief digressions into the mechanics of computer programming in C, scuba, border crossings and even flamethrowers, Evans keeps the story moving without excessive technical lecturing - but also without tripping up on any details. (Unlike the average Hollywood movie, I can read Evans secure in the knowledge that Evans knows even more about how the Internet works than I do.)
The settings would make a Bond movie blush, and yet the action scenes come in realistically under budget. The characters are rounded and likeable - even when they shouldn't be; Evans has a genius for making you realize that the Bad Guys are, in fact, human. The heroes are human too, from moments of brutal suffering to unexpected comedy, tinged with adrenaline.
The novel's pace is engaging and interesting, maintaining a rate of tension even in the slower parts of the plot without seeming artificial. It's hard to say whether the very human drama of Evans' characters or the world-wide criminal empire's plans are more compelling; they are inevitably, inextricably linked.
If you're looking for hip, even savvy, current fiction without hipster pretension, Evans has it. If you'd rather have a fast-paced international crime thriller with a hero who's more brain than brawn, pick up _Blood Price_ for a satisfying read.
This is the second book that I’ve read of Mr. Evans’. Like the first one I read, The Night of Knives, this one is part history, part travelogue and part thriller. Unlike many other authors, Evans seems to be able to put it all together in an engaging and complex plot. This book takes place in post-war Bosnia, Albania, Belize and the US, culminating in a suspenseful conclusion at the Burning Man festival in Nevada. While being thoroughly entertained in the thriller part of the book, I was also transported to each exotic location, getting a real insider’s look at what that country is like and the events that transpired to make it that way.
The book does meander a bit, starting from a domestic violence scenario and ending with human and drug trafficking. In this way, it’s almost like reading two books in one, and because that was a little disorienting, I'd deduct half a star - but it's still an excellent read. I do like the way the author breathes life into his characters. Dialogue is realistic, the various action scenes are, for the most part, plausible, and the sense of place is incredible.
I recommend this book if you enjoy thrillers that take in exotic locations, mild-mannered computer programmer heroes and almost-sympathetic villains. It’s a good book and worth checking out.