The Rules of Silence
David Lindsey
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The Rules of Silence

David Lindsey
Warner Books
496 pages
May 2003
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Click here to read reviewer Rashmi Srinivas' take on The Rules of Silence.

Rules of Silence jumpstarts with an edgy violence, setting a pace that never quits once it gets moving. When Latino heavies come to the United States determined to strongarm a millionaire businessman, all bets are off on a game with no rules. Used to having control over his affairs, Titus Cain has no experience in dealing with a man like Tano Luquin, a former thug assassin in head of his own scheme to divest Cain of a quarter of his fortune.

Luquin's methods leave no margin for error: his motto is "juggar el todo por el todo," all or nothing. Any misstep by Cain is met with the "accidental" death of someone dear. The tension is ratcheted up again as Cain decides whether or not to seek help. Cain's one wildcard is his contact with a former intelligence agent, Garcias Burden, as brutal as Luquin and possibly the only man smart enough to outwit Cain's personal terrorist.

Working with Burden, needing to trust him implicitly, Cain is his own worst enemy. He chafes under Luquin's rigidity, even as Burden explains the ruthless nature of their enemy. Although Cain must appear complicit in every detail, his temper constantly threatens to get out of hand, putting the whole exercise in jeopardy. Consequently, Burden is forced to reveal information to Cain and his wife, Rita, as they balk at the decision not to involve the FBI. In this nether world, much is left unspoken as the end justifies the means. Cain finally accepts the inevitable, allowing Garcias Burden free reign and moral discretion in all instances.

Sustaining a high level of tension is a particular requirement of the mystery/thriller genre, and Lindsey drives his plot relentlessly, contrasting the attendant violence with the very human fear and rage of the victims. Especially tested is Titus Cain, whose moral compass impacts his actions as he is forced into choices that betray his integrity as well as his pride. There is the suggestion of more nefarious motives beneath the surface. It is up to the reader to decide if this is a viable assumption, however, because the immediacy of the plot doesn't need more than the potency of its own evil implications. Like a Lee Child thriller, the amorality and senseless killing by Luquin and his cohorts is quite enough to scare the wits out of any reader.

© 2003 by Luan Gaines for Curled Up With a Good Book

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