I recently posted 4-star reviews of my first two Jake Needham reads–Laundry Man and The Ambassador’s wife. It’s hard to get that fifth star out of me, but Killing Plato puts Needham into the superstar class of international thrillers, right up there with Cussler, Child, and the rest.
Plato Karsarkis is a high-profile–very high profile–fugitive living in the Phuket resort area south of Bangkok. Jack Shepherd is a former high-finance lawyer, semi-retired, who’s teaching college in Bangkok, where he lives with his new Italian-artist wife. Suddenly, Karsarkis wants Jack for something. What it is, Jack doesn’t care because he wants nothing to do with this guy who got rich selling embargoed Iraqi oil to terrorists. Plato came close to trial for his misdeeds once, but the one witness who could have convicted (Kasarkis claims exonerate) him had her throat slashed in a DC hotel room, so Plato took it on the lam.
Try as he might, Jack can’t seem to disentangle himself from this thing he doesn’t understand how he got tangled up in. Before long, he’s surrounded by the CIA, the FBI, some rogue organization that could be both or neither, and the Thai secret service. And there are reverberations that go all the way back to the white house.
How this all works out–or doesn’t–keeps you not only thrilled but emotionally involved, for Needham traces not only the action, but the sad deterioration of a marriage. And not only does he not interrupt the action to portray this painful romance, he uses it to enhance the action.
I’ve said too much, but I can’t say enough. Do a Nike move and just read it.