Twin Powers by David Pereda *Review and Giveaway
Posted by brriske
by David Pereda
While vacationing with her mother in Havana, a 10-year old American girl is taken by members of a child sex ring intent on selling her into forced prostitution. When the human traffickers avoid capture and escape the island, the father of the girl, surgeon Raymond Peters, decides to take matters into his own hands and initiates a worldwide investigation. The Cuban government assigns a lethal professional assassin named Marcela to help Raymond track down the culprits. The search for Stephanie takes the unlikely pair – a man who has sworn an oath to save lives and a woman who kills for a living — to the Middle East in the hunt for the mysterious mastermind, Mohamed. Working against the clock, Raymond and Marcela must pull out all stops to save Stephanie and flee Dubai before Mohamed and his gang of thugs kill them.
A grumbling Horacio drove Raymond and Marcela in Raul’s gleaming silver Mercedes to the old man’s home. He lived in an apartment complex on a three-block street named Humboldt in the Vedado area of Havana, a stone’s throw away from Malecon and less than a mile from Raul’s office.
The once-luxurious building was now unkempt and dilapidated. Judging by what Raymond could see, the formerly large apartments had been partitioned into smaller units. Unshaved men in wife-beaters, and unsmiling women in tight shorts, stared at them from the tiny balconies festooned with clotheslines drying the most intimate apparel imaginable in the hot sun. Several rusted cars on cinder blocks decorated the narrow street.
The ornaments of communism, Raymond thought.
“You want me to wait for you?” Horacio asked.
“Yes,” Marcela said without looking at him. She looked over the building and its surroundings. “I need you to take me home afterwards. You can wait in the car.”
A cacophony of music assaulted Raymond’s senses when they got out of the car. It seemed like each balcony had a radio on at full volume, blaring a different type of music onto the street. Horacio made a disgusted face and cranked up the Mercedes’ radio full blast.
“You got it,” he said and slammed the door shut behind them.
A skinny man with a huge Adam’s apple, standing on the sidewalk, clad in purple madras shorts popular in the seventies, pointed them to the old man’s apartment on the second floor. The crumbling stairs stank of urine and lack of proper cleaning. Pieces of papers and gum wrappers dotted the cracked steps.
Marcela knocked on a green door with peeling paint. No one answered.
An identical door a yard away opened. A teenaged girl in red shorts two sizes too small stepped out, chewing gum vigorously. She was wearing a white T-shirt that barely restrained her exuberant and bra-less breasts. She smiled brightly at them.
“Ado isn’t there,” she said.
Marcela looked her over. “Where is he?”
“Probably at the park, selling candy. Haven’t seen him since last night.”
“Who are you?”
“I’m Ailymis.” She pointed to the door behind her. “I live here. I’m Ado’s” …she hesitated a moment as if measuring her words carefully…“neighbor.”
“How lucky you are,” Marcela said, a faint smile on her lips. “What do you know about your neighbor Ado?”
Ailymis seemed confused by the question. “Que?”
“Has Ado lived here long?”
Ailymis’s brow creased thoughtfully, and her smile vanished. “About six months, I guess.”
“Did you know Ado from before?”
“How well do you know him?”
She hesitated. “Not much, except he gives me candy all the time.”
Ailymis turned crimson. Marcela stepped closer to her and laid a hand on her shoulder.
“It’s all right, chica. We all have to live.”
Ailymis nodded. “Things are hard in Cuba. And he’s an old man. He doesn’t need much. He gives me good tips and presents.”
“Have you seen anyone visiting him lately?”
“Funny you should ask that. Two men came over to visit him last Sunday. I thought it was strange. He’s always alone.”
Marcela gave Raymond a quick glance.
“Did they look like Arabs?”
Ailymis bit her lower lip thoughtfully for a moment. “They looked normal.”
“Did you talk to them?”
“But you saw them.”
“Yes. They knocked on my door by mistake.”
“So you can identify them.”
She gave them a suspicious look and drew away imperceptibly. “Why are you asking so many questions? Is Ado in any kind of trouble?”
“My ten-year-old daughter was kidnapped at the park where Ado works,” Raymond said. “He saw the kidnappers.”
“Your daughter kidnapped?” Ailymis opened her eyes wide in disbelief. “In Cuba? I never heard of such a thing before. You sure?”
“We’re sure,” Marcela said.
Ailymis chewed her gum furiously for a moment or two and then squinted at Marcela. “Are you with the police?”
“Higher than that.”
She stopped chewing her gum, leaned against the wall, and frowned.
“Higher than the police?”
“We work directly for Raul Castro.”
Ailymis’s face blanched and her jaw dropped. Raymond saw the pink wad of gum between her teeth. “I don’t know anything.”
“Does anyone have a key to Ado’s apartment?”
Ailymis hesitated. “I do.”
“You do? How come?”
Her face turned crimson. “I keep him company some nights.” She pouted defiantly. “He gave it to me, so I could come in without knocking at the door and attracting attention. He’s partly deaf. You have to knock very hard for him to hear you. Ado is a nice man. He’s always been good to me. Treats me like a daughter.”
Marcela chortled. “And he gives you candy and money, right?”
Ailymis avoided Marcela’s eyes. “Anything wrong with that?”
“No. As I said before, a girl has to live. Bring the key.”
When Ailymis opened the door five minutes later, and they entered the tiny apartment, they were all shocked by the chaos they encountered – chairs overturned, drawers emptied on the floor, clothes strewn around. They found Aldo sitting in one of the red-vinyl kitchenette chairs, hands tied behind his back and a plastic bag over his head. His mouth was open and his eyes bulged, as if trying to escape his body.
This is a standalone book, but these characters have appeared in at least three previous books. The books are not marketed as a series, though.
>The reader is introduced to a family in an unforgettable way. With divorce looming, Sonia leaves her husband Raymond, and takes her twins, Sophia and Stephanie, to her native Cuba for a holiday. In Cuba, Stephanie is kidnapped. At this point in the story the reader is pulled every which way. There is a lot of misdirection, an intricate plot and a lot of characters.
>Of all people to have a major role, Fidel Castro has a large part in this story. Sonia used to work for him, so she has a lot of resources normal Cubans wouldn’t have. Castro calls upon an assassin he used to use, Marcela, to help find the girl. Raymond & Marcela team up, while a psychic connection between the twins help to keep Sonia and Castro updated. There are a lot of characters and quite a few settings, such as Dubai. The characters are difficult to discern if they are good or bad.
>There are two times I felt the book come to a conclusion and then a monkey wrench was introduces and a plot twist sent the story off in another direction. The plot of this story was so intricate, yet not too hard to follow. I wouldn’t describe this book as a romance. This book is an action adventure with some sex scenes. It was an enjoyable read, if not very romantic.
>I had to pay close attention to the settings and characters, so I noticed three instances where the wrong character was named or the wrong gender used. These mistakes are very distracting to me and immediately take me out of the virtual story world and back to the present. If not for these errors, I might have rated the book higher.
>This book is appropriate for an adult audience due to the sensitive subject matter and violence.
>I am giving this book 4 fangs.
>Review – Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1287804069?book_show_action=false
>Review – Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/review/RZSZHRT2VYPJY
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
David Pereda is an award-winning author who enjoys crafting political thrillers and mainstream novels. His books have won the Lighthouse Book Awards, the Royal Palm Awards, the National Indie Excellence Awards, and the Readers Favorite Awards. He has traveled to more than thirty countries around the world and speaks four languages. Before devoting his time solely to writing and teaching, Pereda had a rich and successful international consulting career with global giant Booz Allen Hamilton, where he worked with the governments of Mexico, Venezuela, Peru and Qatar, among others.
A member of MENSA, Pereda earned his MBA from Pepperdine University in California. He earned bachelor degrees in English literature and mathematics at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He loves sports and has won many prizes competing in track and show-jumping equestrian events.
Pereda lives with his youngest daughter Sophia in Asheville, North Carolina. He teaches mathematics and English at the Asheville-Buncombe Community College.
Visit him online at:
Other titles by David Pereda:
However Long the Night
Havana: Top Secret
Havana: Killing Castro
David will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host. Additionally, Goddess Fish Productions will be awarding a $5 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn host.