by Mark Petruska

Booklocker, $17.95, 334 pages

I know it’s December, but Portland-based author Mark Petruska’s thriller, No Time For Kings, is perfect beach reading. We may be six or more months away from direct sunlight, but if you like a good blend of action, romance and a character driven plot, this may be the book for you. The main protagonists are Rachel, a journalist investigating an eco-terrorism group called Earth Fights Back, and her new beau Alex, her daughter’s school teacher. The author does well in giving the pair a once bitten/twice shy chemistry. The real star however, is the mysterious, and darn-right EVIL terrorist mastermind Drake. If a thriller is defined by the strengths of its villain, No Time For Kings is in dastardly hands.

The book is set in and around the Portland area, the Pacific Northwest, and the western states. If I hadn’t known that the author resides in the Portland area, his loving descriptions of the locale would have given it away. From the zoo, to Voodoo Doughnuts, you could practically follow the characters around on their adventures in Google Maps. While the book is set against the larger issues of international eco-terrorism, Mark Petruska has crafted a story of the relationships between people, whether they’re heroes, or villains.

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