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American Outrage    by Tim Green order for
American Outrage
by Tim Green
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Tim Green always picks hot topics for his thrillers, and this time, in American Outrage, he focuses on the role of the media, in manipulating events to get a story, intruding into private lives, and exploiting pain and tragedy.

The novel's protagonist, former foreign correspondent Jake Carlson, has done all those things for the evening tabloid TV show in which he stars, American Outrage. But soon it will be his turn to appear on the wrong side of the camera. Jake has suffered tragedy in his own life, losing his beloved wife Karen after a long illness. Their adopted son Sam, now in seventh grade, has since been acting out, regularly getting into trouble for fighting at school. Now, Sam demands that Jake use his skills as an investigative reporter to find his birth mother. Very reluctantly - having always suspected there was something shady about the adoption - Jake caves in.

Though Jake's job is looking shaky because of his recent strong focus on family concerns, he takes time to keep his promise to Sam. Fortunately, he's taping a show in Syracuse, where he arranged Sam's adoption from an Albanian state run orphanage through a man called Ron Cakebread. In the building where the adoption agency was located, Jake meets the lovely, scarred Zamira. He learns that Cakebread died of a gunshot wound to the head, and uncovers a connection to an Albanian mafia operating in the U.S., run by bad-ass Murat Lukaj. He also discovers a link to American royalty, the wealthy and political Van Buren family.

Jake's attacked by Albanian thugs, and that's just the beginning of violence that escalates to include kidnappings and murder. On the trail of a huge story, Jake tries to shield his son from publicity, but Sam decides to get in on the action, leading to an explosive denouement. As always, Tim Green delivers an intense thriller in American Outrage, with characters he makes you care about.

Audiobook Review by Lyn Seippel (Rating:3):

Top journalist Jake Carlson is having problems at work and at home. Although he is host for a top rated news show, more and more segments are being assigned to a younger journalist. At home Jake and his son Sam are dealing with the loss of his wife (Sam's mother) who died only a year ago.

Thirteen-year-old Sam, who is adopted, is suddenly obsessed with finding his birth mother. Jake agrees to use his investigative talents to search for her. He begins with the Albanian adoption agency that gave him Sam. It no longer exists and Jake is staggered to learn that it has ties to an international crime syndicate.

After being shot at and finding a dead body, Jake is fired from his coveted position at the prime-time news show, American Outrage. His investigation into Sam's adoption takes a startling turn when it begins to look like the daughter of a powerful Hudson Valley political family may be Sam's biological mother. A tortured young woman, whose family's only concern was that she not have her baby, she's now being treated for schizophrenia at an upscale treatment center.

The plot of this fast moving thriller has more twists and turns than a roller coaster, and narrator Scott Brick does an excellent job of maintaining suspense through shifting points of view.

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