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Into the Volcano: A Mallory & Morse Novel of Espionage    by Forrest DeVoe Jr. order for
Into the Volcano
by Forrest DeVoe Jr.
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Under the pen name of Forest DeVoe, Jr., an unrevealed best-selling author has written a novel of espionage with chilling intrigue. Into the Volcano takes the reader from New York City to Istanbul, Cannes, and a South Sea Island near Australia. Dutch-born Just van Vliet, on assignment in Istanbul, acquired information of a suspicious nature centering around Club Europa and Banco Lavoro Tower, which houses the Turkish Treasury underground vaults, 'Turkey's Fort Knox'. Before relaying his discoveries, van Vliet was brutally (and unusually) murdered.

The Consultancy, a covert-services network under a British ex-commando known as 'Gray', exists to execute missions too dangerous (and dirty) for conventional intelligence agencies. Its two best agents, Mallory and Morse, travel to Istanbul under cover as Mr. and Mrs. Cavanaugh, grain dealers. Their assignment - to learn the circumstances behind the murder of van Vliet and find out what their Dutch colleague discovered - plunges them into a whirlpool of danger. Jack Mallory is an ex-soldier from the oilfields of Corpus Christi. Laurie Morse of Boston is a force to be reckoned with, trained intensively in six martial art forms, including Paio Shou (Floating Hand).

Their Turkish contacts, brothers Tallat and Osman (business colleagues in van Vliet's company, Advanced Global Shipping) are determined to avenge their friend's death. Suspicions lead to Mallory's nemesis, arms-dealer Anton Rauth. Rauth's mercenaries trail the duo as 'open shadows', with orders to kill Mallory and Morse. An outstanding scene in the story is Mallory and Morse's interaction with Queen Celeste and the Kenoese people on the island of Pali Konau. The duo scuba dive into Rauth's hidden facility in the depths of the He' Konau volcano, a.k.a. 'The Dragon's Throne'. There Jack and Laurie discover Rauth's 'master weapon' intended to cause the death of millions.

The story has a solid plot and premise, humor, excellent dialog, two strong protagonists, artful enemies and support characters, well-defined locations, descriptive encounters, and plenty of action. DeVoe paces his plot cleverly. Just when the reader thinks the action is slowing down, suddenly even more suspense is building. Promoted as a new James Bond thriller, Into the Volcano stands on its own merits as a charged, suspenseful read, a slam-bang winner.

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