cover image The Gatekeeper

The Gatekeeper

James Byrne. Minotaur, $27.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-80576-8

Byrne’s promising debut introduces Dez Limerick, a retired mercenary “gatekeeper” who can hack into security and information systems—and plays guitar gigs in his spare time. After a show in California, Dez foils a kidnapping attempt targeting Petra Alexandris, the smart scion of a major military contractor. Impressed, Petra hires him to investigate a billion-dollar embezzlement from her family’s company. After confronting the few company officers who could have pulled it off and getting denials, Dez follows leads on the kidnapping with help from an LAPD detective and his gut feeling the kidnappers were military trained. He also shakes loose, with some strong-arming, a plot to form a breakaway white nationalist ethno-state in Northern California and heads north from Los Angeles to investigate, finding militias from across the country converging after being riled up by an incendiary media company. As Dez tries to thwart a scheme to use a nuclear power plant as a bargaining chip, Petra uncovers a complex conspiracy that leads to a nail-biting final standoff. Byrne describes frantic events in an unfussy, direct style that matches Dez’s collected demeanor. Fans of action-packed political thrillers will enjoy getting to know this charming new hero. Agent: Janet Reid, JetReid Literary. (June)