Raven's Redemption Trudel by John Trudel
Publisher: Trudel Group (February 28, 2016)
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Raven’s Redemption begins where Raven’s Run left off: Josie is recovering in a hospital in Oregon, and Raven, recuperating at a coastal estate in rugged Northern California. He feels responsible for putting her life in jeopardy. Josie is a sensitive paranormal who can do ‘remote viewings’ – but viewings involving violence, remote or otherwise, weaken her to the point of death.

Raven is an undercover operative who tries to protect her. He receives his next mission from Goldfarb, his boss: Josie’s untraceable extraction from the medical facility. What none of them know is that sinister forces are at work to make sure Josie never gets out alive.

Her services are desperately needed again, and this mission cannot fail: she is a non-expendable government asset. It’s a simple grab-the-girl and run – or should be – but when animal activists become involved, chaos reigns, and not everyone makes it out intact.

The story shifts to another hospital – this time the President of the United States is hospitalized in a secret facility after being irreparably poisoned. After a brief period of rest and recuperation for Josie and Raven, Josie is tasked to work her viewings around the condition of the president. While in her viewing state, she encounters a dark force so powerful and evil she cannot penetrate it – and is afraid it would swallow her very life force if she got too close.

Should the president die, this force, aptly named “The Abyss”, will be unleashed on the world, and with no stopping it. Unfortunately, all envisioned paths to the future lead to his death!

Goldfarb’s team is able to use Josie’s information to track down those who want the president dead, but the real problem is knowing who is directing their actions, and why. Some familiar villains appear in this book – we get to be entertained with Vogel’s thick German accent and lack of empathy – and some new ones, who seem familiar enough that we might have read about them in the newspaper or seen a report on television.

In between the heart-stopping, rag-tag, under-funded operations to rescue damsels and flush out the bad guys, Trudel gives us past examples of breaches of security in history to make plausible actions taken in his story. He relates the legend of General Blackjack Pershing’s pig-blood solution to jihad, though the historical authenticity of this event has been challenged where criticism of Islam is politically incorrect.  Occurring over a century ago, the incident – which has been neither proven nor disproved – provides a richer backdrop to the actions of an unanticipated (and unwitting) ally during a chilling nighttime raid.

In light of recent terrorist events that leave us wondering “how could this have happened?” Trudel offers up examples of enemies hiding in plain sight, of churches that aren’t the peaceful sanctuaries one might expect, and of plans for evil that are much better funded than their defensive counterparts.

Raven’s character is becoming less rogue. He is listening more to Josie rather than acting brashly every time. She desperately wants out of the business they’re in – “one more mission and we’ll retire” – how many times have you heard that one? This reader doesn’t remotely foresee a true retirement happening any time soon!

Those who read Raven’s Run will be satisfied with this riveting sequel, but those who are new to Trudel’s work will enjoy it on its own if they are a fan of political intrigue, firearms technology – both new and old, espionage and a bit of other-worldliness to make this a true paranormal thriller.