Illicit Trade: A Valentin Vermeulen Thriller

Michael Niemann. Coffeetown, $14.95 trade paper (244p) ISBN 978-1-60381-589-5
In Niemann’s intriguing second Valentin Vermeulen thriller (after Legitimate Business), the New York–based Flemish employee of the U.N.’s Office of Internal Oversight Services fields a complaint from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that someone at the OIOS office in Nairobi used a fake invitation letter to get a Kenyan man, Joseph Odinga, a visa to enter the U.S. Odinga, who was detained at JFK airport because he was acting suspiciously, is now at a detention center in Elizabeth, N.J. When Vermeulen tries to visit Odinga, he learns that the Kenyan is dead. An anonymous phone caller later tells him that Odinga was murdered by a fellow detainee. Meanwhile, Earle Jackson, a small-time hustler in Newark, N.J., encounters another Kenyan man, who dies in his arms on the street; Jackson takes the man’s wallet and passport. Readers may figure out the criminal enterprise behind the visa scam before the heroes do, but the unexpected resourcefulness that Vermeulen and Jackson each display in dealing with dangerous foes in their respective quests is highly entertaining. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/02/2017
Release date: 03/01/2017
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