The Blue Zone
Large Print Edition
By Andrew Gross
Doubleday Large Print Home Library (2007), 516 pages
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - October 21, 2010
After writing five books with the widely-successful James Patterson, Andrew Gross began to publish his own mysteries. This is the second of his books that I read. It is the first that he wrote. I enjoyed them both. I found the two books to be far better than the ones he did with James Patterson. Patterson's very effective best-selling writing style is to present short, very easy to read volumes, books that can be consumed in three or four hours, books designed for people who want to be diverted, perhaps while sitting on a beach or in a rocker at home. Gross' books are longer and deeper; there is more of a chance to develop characters, plot, and suspense.
The book's title refers to a classification by the US Marshals' Witness Protection Program. It is the most feared situation. It is a time when there is a suspicion that the protected person's new identity has been blown. When the person is out of contact with the program. Where there is no official knowledge whether the person that the Marshalls are supposed to protect is dead or alive. This and much more occur in this thriller.
Kate's father is arrested for a number of crimes associated with Columbians, including money laundering. The FBI talks him into becoming a witness against his friend, who was involved in the crimes, and the mob. They promise him a short imprisonment of less than a year followed by a new life in the witness protective program. Her father agrees, and he, his wife, and two of his children, but not Kate, enter the program. Kate refuses to join because she is almost finished he educational program, enjoys her work, and most of all intends to marry Greg. As Kate's mother is about to leave for the program, she tells Kate that she has a secret that is very important and she will tell it to her at another time.
Suddenly, after more than a year, Kate is threatened by the Columbian Cartel, a friend is shot and Kate is sure that the killers thought that she was the person they killed. Then her father disappears, an agent of the witness protective program is murdered after being tortured to reveal information, and the FBI seem to think that her father was involved.
Why did it take a year for all these events to unravel? Who is her father? Is he really involved with the Cartel? How? What information was obtained from the tortured agent? What is the secret her mother knows? Are her mother, sister, and brother safe? How can Kate find out what is going on? Can she find information and help her family without endangering Greg? Can she trust the FBI?
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of fifteen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Rabbi Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides, the latest being Maimonides: Reason Above All, published by Gefen Publishing House, www.gefenpublishing.com. The Orthodox Union (OU) publishes daily samples of the Targum books on www.ouradio.org.