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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins


The Gibson Vaughn Series #2

ISBN: 9781503939295

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: 10/4/2016

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 3.5 Stars Gibson Vaughn, hero of the bestselling novel The Short Drop, returns in a smoldering thriller. When jailed billionaire Charles Merrick hints publicly that he has stashed a fortune in an offshore cache, a school of sharks converges upon his release from federal prison.

Among his swindled victims is Judge Hammond Birk, the man who saved Gibson Vaughn’s life when he was a troubled teenager. Now Gibson intends to repay that debt by recovering Merrick’s victims’ money.

But Gibson isn’t the only one on the trail of the hidden fortune.

The promise of billions has drawn a horde of ruthless treasure hunters, including an edgy ex-con, a female bartender with a mysterious history, a Chinese spy with a passion for fly-fishing, and a veritable army of hardened mercenaries. To stay ahead of the sharks and win justice for his mentor, Gibson will need all his formidable skills. But at the end of the road, he’ll still have to face “Poisonfeather”—a geopolitical secret that just might get Gibson killed…or worse.

My Review

A special thank you to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Also purchased the audiobook, narrated by James Patrick Cronin. Matthew Fitzsimmons’ returns following The Short Drop (Gibson Vaughn, #1), landing on my Top 50 Books of 2015. “Best Debut Political Crime Techno Thriller,” with his follow-up, POISONFEATHER, (Gibson Vaughn #2), a thriller with a full cast of characters, with Vaughn taking the back seat, compared to the first book. A finite number of topics existed in prison-life before, life during, and the promise of a better life after. Charles Merrick would be happy when he put Niobe Federal Prison behind him in 142 days. As the managing partner of Merrick Capital, he had given two or three interviews in a week. He needed this interview. Many people resented the plea deal he cut with the Justice Department. Eight years for the devastation Merrick Capital caused its investors strikes some as ludicrous. The net value of the assets seized didn’t come close to compensating his victims. Lives were ruined. Some saw this is a country club versus a real prison. (Madoff Junior). Of course, Charles is insulted by this title since Madoff’s operation was amateur hour. None of the major Wall Street firms invested with Madoff. He thinks his firm was a work of art. He says their investment strategies were legitimate and their returns to investors were unprecedented. Until the crash of 2008. Of course, he blamed it on the Americans. Catching up with Vaughn (love him)—and the Nighthawk Diner, ex-wife, and daughter, and of course some baseball. Down on his luck, he has been job hunting for last six months and between child support and mortgage his savings were just about exhausted. He needed Real money. Real work. A job offer on the table and now to pass a polygraph. He is so close. The kind of money he expected when he left the Marines. He needed an apartment for his daughter, Ellie and maybe a dog. Hopefully, things will be looking up. However, things do not go so well. Among Merrick's swindled victims is Judge Hammond Birk, the man who saved Gibson Vaughn's life when he was a troubled teenager. Charlottesville, Virginia. Now Gibson intends to repay that debt by recovering Merrick's victims' money from the Ponzi-scheme. Birk had offered him a deal; the Marines instead of prison, in open defiance of then senator Benjamin Lombard. The judge had saved his life.Now Birk’s family needs his help. Now Vaughn he has to deal with the self-importance arrogance of Merrick and supposedly he has money the government didn’t find. A digital trail. They needed his computer expertise to track down the money. One more powerful man who had gamed a broken system, ruined lives, and lived to rub it in his victim’s faces. However, Gibson isn't the only one on the dangerous trail of the hidden fortune. Merrick had traded something valuable to his government, and in exchange, the Americans had permitted to plead out to a lighter sentence and keep some of his assets. It had to be "Poisonfeather." “Hell is empty. And all the devils are here.”—William Shakespeare, The Tempest Fold or call? Gibson has two options. What a cast of characters and criminals from a Chinese spy, fisherman, gangs, a cabin, and the CIA for non-stop action! However, I hate to compare "but" I did not enjoy #2 as much as #1. Sure it is difficult when your debut is so fantastic, the expectations are set high. I think part of the reason was less action from Vaughn and more from the other cast of characters (too many), spread out in too many places, which took away from my "main man!" Give me more Gibson Vaughn #3 in Cold Harbor, please. Review Links:

The Short Drop

By: Matthew FitzSimmons

The Gibson Vaughn Series #1 ASIN: B00YTXTIDO

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: 12/1/2015

Format: e-Book

My Rating: 5 Stars

Top Debut Political Thriller

Matthew Fitzsimmons

About the Author

Matthew FitzSimmons, an American boy from Illinois, grew up in London in the 1970s under the baleful eye of the Kings Road punks. His otherwise idyllic childhood was shattered by the traumatic experience of seeing Star Wars on December 27, 1977 in Leicester Square, listening to his father sleep through what was clearly the greatest cinematic achievement of all time, and fearing he was adopted.

For college, he attended Swarthmore College where he earned a B.A. in Psychology but lived largely in and for the theater.

After several years in New York City, and having learned he wouldn’t do absolutely anything to make it, he absconded to China. There he wrote a first novel (the less said about which the better), played center back for a foreigner’s soccer team, sparked a near riot and was forced to write a ziwo pipan (self-criticism) by the University of Nanjing—his first work of political fiction.

He now lives in Washington, D.C., where he taught English literature and theater at a private high school for over a decade. He cohabitates with a pair of old boots, collects bourbon and classic soul LPs, and wonders if he will ever write anything half as good as the first sentence of James Crumley’s The Last Good Kiss. Read More

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