Full disclosure – I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book by the authors but have voluntarily provided a review. All opinions are my own.
They Know Everything
When a late-night meeting with ASAC Conner ends with Loshak witnessing the Senior Agent’s demise he is shaken. With Conner’s final words “they know everything” still ringing in his ears the agent is sent off to Arizona on his next assignment. But when he arrives, it becomes quickly apparent that the latest series of victims could be directly related to his clandestine investigations into the human traffic ring he stumbled upon in Kansas City. With Spinks along for the ride, the pair join in on finding the hitman who appears to be taking out key figures in the overall operation. But Victor finds his loyalties torn as he attempts to play both sides of the fence… helping the local law enforcement while omitting key pieces of information to try to draw closer to the mastermind behind this entire sinister operation. With the help of an unlikely ally, Loshak and Spinks find themselves the closest they have ever been to tracking down the source. But in doing so, and having been previously warned to back off, will they turn the ire of those who know everything fully in their direction?
Desert Heat is the fourth book in the Victor Loshak series of books by LT Vargus, Tim McBain, and E.M. Smith. Picking up sometime after the close of Silent Night Loshak is called out to the Arizona desert to track down yet another serial killer. It was intriguing to see a conflicted Loshak in this installment. He is so close to busting the doors wide open on the human trafficking ring that he has been secretly tracking for months that his eagerness is almost palpable. Despite prior warnings to back off and ASAC Conner’s cryptic final warning “they know everything”, Victor presses forward in an almost cloak and dagger sort of manner as he attempts to provide the active investigation just enough to advance their inquiries without revealing all that he knows. There are several occasions where Loshak’s “deer in the headlights” gaze must have been painfully evident but still missed by those who were not intimately acquainted with him. With human trafficking being a serious issue currently, the duo of Vargus and McBain assisted by Smith manage to put a “human face” on this issue like never before. With some of the scenes so vivid and graphic, it gives the common person a speculative glimpse into the plight of the trafficked for no other reason than the pursuit of a more dignified existence. I am not ashamed to admit that at times I found myself silently rooting for the hitman, the culprit taking out the trash in a most graphic and decisive way.
While Desert Heat definitely served to cut off some ties and shrink the circle of influence that the nebulous ring up to recently enjoyed I am sure that this storyline is far from over. When you cut off the tail of a serpent, a new one grows back and while some heavy hitters may have been exposed in Desert Heat, the head is most likely still hiding somewhere waiting for retaliation. If they truly “know everything” then the newest developments will come back to bite Loshak and Spinks in spades in an upcoming installment. When it happens, I will have a front-row seat for the finale of this long-developed storyline’s climax.