From Bradley Harper, an Army veteran utilizing his skills and training as a Pathologist with over 37 years of worldwide military medical experience. He performed over 200 autopsies, dozens of which were forensic. Ending his service as a Colonel working as a physician in the Pentagon. His first novel, A Knife in The Fog (2018) was the winner of the 2019 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion for Best Mystery Novel and was a Finalist for the 2019 Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America for Best First Novel by an American Author. His follow up, Queen’s Gambit is available September 17, 2019.
A mystery thriller featuring Margaret Harkness, first introduced in Bradley Harper’s debut, A Knife in The Fog as an author, a guide in London and companion to Professor Joseph Bell, where they track down Jack the Ripper. Margaret is based off a real-world social investigator and author. In Queen’s Gambit, almost a decade has past, and Harkness is having issue with her health, she is considering leaving England but before she does, she receives a letter summoning her to Germany where Professor Bell is on a new case working to figure out which anarchist group is stealing state secrets.
As soon as Margaret arrives and gets on the case, things start to escalate, and the danger is imminent. She soon becomes a target herself as a gun wielding man has her in his sights. From an outside perspective, Margaret quickly stirs the pot, trying to find a mole in their ranks, as secrets have been spilled, informants disappeared, and the only logical conclusion is that there is a mole in their ranks.
One particular element which stood out to me, being a veteran reviewer is the guns utilized. Bradley Harper sets the atmosphere with his keen on details regarding guns. Something many thriller writers do, but what set this novel apart is the fact that it takes place in 1897 before sub-machine guns, fully automatic rifles, and high capacity magazines. What we experience here is an old school hunting style rifle, the author altered it a bit to fit his story, but the Girandoni air rifle was utilized, that closely resembles one used by the Austrian army in the late eighteenth century. Utilizing a flask that requires many pumps to be sufficiently charged, as the rifle does not utilize a firing pin, but instead a valve that releases the compressed air into the firing chamber. This very special weapon, ahead of its time produced no loud explosion, no smoke, no flash and very little sound. Perfect to terrorize anyone on this bad guy’s list.
This novel is a fun and different read from my usual recommendations. Earning itself a Blast Radius of a MOAB! An 8 out of 10. A rating earned due to a driven plot, surprises, accurate use of weapons, and a list of interesting characters that you feel for, even the assassin’s point of view is intriguing, coming in full circle with a satisfying heart wrenching ending.
Author: Bradley Harper
Series: Margaret Harkness # 2
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Release Date: September 17, 2019
Follow Bradley on Twitter: @bharperauthor
Lima Charlie Rating: A BLAST RADIUS OF: A MOAB (8/10) – Massive Ordnance Air Blast -AKA- Mother of all Bombs. Largely known as the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in the US Military inventory. It has a blast radius of one mile, meaning it demolishes everything within 1 square mile.
About the author
Bradley Harper is a retired US Army Colonel and pathologist who has performed over two-hundred autopsies and some twenty forensic investigations. A life-long fan of Sherlock Holmes, he did intensive research for this debut novel, A Knife in the Fog, including a trip to London’s East End with noted Jack the Ripper historian Richard Jones. Harper’s first novel was published in October 2018 and was a finalist for a 2019 Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America for Best First Novel by an American Author.