Sunday, September 4, 2016

White Bone by Ridley Pearson

Before I give you  my thoughts on this book, I have to make you aware (as some of you  undoubtedly already will be) of the dire plight of the African elephant.  Poaching of these magnificent animals plays a large part in the plot of this book. 

Quoted directly from the book:  "White Bone is dedicated to the thousands of individuals who have made it their life's  purpose to protect and defend the elephant, rhino and other endangered species on the African continent.  These people earn less than they could elsewhere, they sleep in tents or front seats or not at all.  They battle the harsh conditions of the African environment, and the monetary conditions that create a market for elephant tusk and rhino horn: poverty, corruption and greed.  They often spend more time trying to raise awareness and funds than they do on the ground battling poachers.  They are unnamed, unseen and, in many places, unwanted.  Without them, the African wild elephant and rhino will be gone forever within the next nine years.  An elephant is killed every fifteen minutes."

Now, from an author's note in the back of the book, how you can help.  These are organizations he has had direct contact with and highly recommends:

African Wildlife Foundation
Big Life
The Gorongosa Fund
Northern Rangeland Trust
Wildlife Direct

This book is the fourth in Pearson's Risk Agent series, which as Greg Iles has said has reenergized the international thriller.  It features Rutherford Risk Agents Grace Chu and John Knox.  When John Knox receives a text from his partner Grace warning that she fears her cover has been blown while on assignment, he jumps into action.  Knox has to locate her overseas handlers, convince them  of the danger, and then attempt to retrace the well-hidden steps of a woman who had been investigating how one million euros' worth of AIDS vaccine disappeared, all while eluding angry poachers on a parallel trail.  And corruption isn't just a problem in Kenya, it's a way of life.  Knox faces police, journalists, rangers, and safari companies who have their own symbiotic relationship with the elephants.  Factor in al-Shabaab militants and you can see that Knox finds himself pitted against the most savage and suicidal fighters in the world.  Yet he does just that for a woman who he finally admits to himself has become extremely important to him.  The exotic locale and a plot which could be tomorrow's headlines make this a satisfying thriller.  Richly layered and suspenseful, he manages to leave his fans wanting more.  

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