Gerard D. Webster
WestBow Press (2011)
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (9/11)
Gerard D. Webster has masterfully crafted a sequel to his award winning novel “In-sight.” In “The Soul Reader” Ward McNulty and Carrie Hope reopen the investigation into the murder of Ward’s father and the suspicious deaths of three of six principals involved in a money-laundering scheme known as the North Beach Project in Jacksonville, Florida. The story picks up a year after the events of “In-Sight.”
Ward and ex-homicide detective Anton Gross join forces to reopen the investigation after Carrie signs an attractive six figure, book contract with a highly successful national publisher. Ward and Carrie become possible targets of a notorious assassin, reputed as being the most dangerous in the Western Hemisphere, Culebra. The investigation soon involves the DEA, Interpol, the FAA, as well as other local and national government agencies, covering three continents.
Webster has included all the elements of a well-paced suspense novel, including distinctive three-dimensional characters, intrigue, mystery, romance, and mounting suspense. Webster has done his research well. His accounts reflect a detailed awareness of the local of color of cities in Florida, California, Colombia, Mexico, and Italy which add authenticity to his writing, and to my personal enjoyment of his novel.
Webster’s writing is so gripping, I experienced vicariously the same adrenaline rush that Ward did when he was caught between an ambush and a police roadblock on a narrow winding road just outside of Medallion, Colombia, South America, or when face to face with Culebra the vile assassin. Unexpected plot twists with life-threatening consequences add to the fast-paced, non-stop action which leads to an amazing surprise ending. Detailed dialog updating previous action sometimes slows down the narrative which gave me a feeling of unnecessary repetition. However, this also gives the reader a chance to match wits with the protagonists.
I was especially interested in the segments that took place in the Andes Mountains of Colombia, South America. My sister served as a Bible translator for twenty years in these mountains. She is no stranger to the impact of the drug traffickers, the guerrilla terrorists, and communism on the political instability of the country.
Various tenants and practices of the Catholic faith are skillfully woven in to the “woof and warp” of the novel. Webster’s protagonists subscribe to an inner faith, high ethical standards, and a concern for spiritual pursuits. Ward is portrayed as having a unique spiritual gift enabling him to recognizing truth when seeing directly into a man’s soul.
Anyone reading Webster’s first novel,” In-Sight,” will want to read this exciting sequel. “The Soul Reader” establishes a fan base for Gerald D. Webster that will ensure his continued success as a highly celebrated suspense author. I am looking forward to more from Gerard D. Webster.