- Reviewed by David M. Kinchen
In the greater Washington, DC area, it seems you never really know who you’re working for, as Danielle “Dani” Britton suddenly finds out when gunmen invade the suburban Virginia security firm where she works as a data analyst and kill everybody they can find. They then place explosives and blow up the historic building housing Rasmund.
S.G. Redling introduces Dani and her friends and enemies — sometimes the same people — in “The Widow File” (Thomas & Mercer, Las Vegas, a publishing unit of Amazon, trade paperback 228 pages, $14.95).
In this fast-paced thriller, I recognized elements of James Grady’s 1974 thriller, “Six Days of the Condor”, translated to the big screen the next year as “Three Days of the Condor, starring Robert Redford, where the Redford character returns to his office to find everybody murdered. I also caught a whiff of “Paycheck”, starring Ben Affleck and Aaron Eckhart, where Dani and her Rasmund co-worker Sinclair ‘Choo-Choo’ Charbaneaux dope out the contents of a file that contains an odd assortment of items.
Don’t let those elements stop you from reading “The Widow File”: It’s a very readable thriller by an author who promises more Dani Britton and more Choo-Choo.
In addition to possessing more courage that anyone facing danger should have, Dani has a startling ability to read people by the trash they leave behind. Receipts, parking tickets, champagne corks: the detritus of daily life—if you leave it behind, she will figure you out.
After she escapes from Rasmund — before it’s blown sky-high — with the help of Choo-Choo, Dani tries to figure out who’s after her. Is it the client Dani and the other were working for? Or is it someone in Rasmund itself? The CIA, the NSA or another organization with no seal or letterhead?
Whoever ordered the hit on Rasmund thinks Dani has escaped with information that they desperately want. She’s being tracked by a hitman who identifies himself only as “Tom.” Dani and Choo-Choo move through Washington, DC just one or two steps ahead of “Tom.” She has one thing in common with “Tom”: They both like the sleek futuristic Metro that serves the region. I do, too.
Like “Tom” I grew to like and admire this plucky 5-footer from Oklahoma, with a truck driver father and a mentally ill mother. I look forward to more Dani!
About S.G. Redling (from her Amazon.com page)
“After a ridiculously normal childhood spent fighting with my siblings in the woods of West Virginia, I graduated from Georgetown University with an English degree. To my parents’ chagrin, I parlayed that fine education into a series of jobs including waitress, monument tour guide, and sheepskin packer before settling in as a morning radio host in Huntington, West Virginia.
“I tend to stroll blithely into strange situations and take adolescent pride in surviving them. Some of my favorites: jumping from an airplane (recommended), jumping from a moving train in Hungary (not recommended), getting lost in the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul, and being locked in a dining car on a midnight train through the Carpathians; and winning a heated argument over the schematics of the Battlestar Galactica.
“These days, I spend a lot of time in pajamas and–for reasons too complicated to explain–I am no longer shocked to find wildlife in my house. For me, everything is a story and the story is everything. Getting to tell my stories? Greatest thing ever.”