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Book Review: Mastermind by Helen Goltz

This book was kindly provided to me by the author for review.
“A website inviting game players to mastermind the perfect crime is more than a game, much more!
It is the façade for billionaire Lawrence Hackett’s real-life invitation-only competition to see who can perform the perfect heist. Only a select few are invited to play for the bounty at stake.
Special Agent Mitchell Parker and his Washington D.C. based team span the globe trying to prevent the real-life crimes before they happen!
Washington, Paris, London … the clock is on!”
The book is broken up into two parts and Part 1 follows Mitchell Parker (Mitch), Special Agent with the Washington DC-based Trans-National Crime Unit as he acts on a tip-off and, along with his team, carries out a reconnaissance to pilfer security tapes from the University. Those tapes contain important images which will assist Mitch and his team in identifying the key players of the game.
After watching the footage and through various investigations and surveillance, most of the players are identified and with a plan in place, Mitch and his team trail the suspects in an attempt to figure out how they all connect and to uncover the identity of the Mastermind.
There are some nail-biting scenes, for instance when Mitch, during surveillance, comes face to face with one of his oldest friends whom he has just discovered is playing for the other side as well as a heart-stopping mid-air battle between Mitch and a member of his team who has double-crossed them.
In Part 2, the countdown begins as we see Mitch and the team widen their search for the Mastermind and the final contestants in order to bring the whole operation down before any real damage is done. The clues are few and far between but Mitch and his team do a great job of anticipating what the next move is going to be.
I really liked this book, although it had me a bit confused in the beginning as it jumped around quite a bit. Mitch’s character comes across as a bit anal, especially in relation to his work and the actions of his team members, which is not a bad trait at all for an investigator, but personally, I would have liked a bit more information on his past which would have afforded me a deeper connection to him. There are, of course, some glimpses, such as him struggling with bad memories and nightmares of a childhood with an abusive alcoholic father, but these are rare and I feel this back-story could have been expanded upon.
Aside from that fact though, for a first novel, Helen Goltz has produced an engrossingly compelling thriller which is well-written and action-packed. An elaborate and complicated plot makes this book one which is bound to keep you interested. I certainly will be looking out for the next one in this series.
Helen Goltz has worked as a journalist, marketer and producer for print and television in Australia for more than twenty years.  Mastermind is the first in a series of novels featuring Mitchell Parker and his crime-fighting team.

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