Rob Turner is a big city detective who leads a double life. On the surface he’s a cocky, high-profile and successful public servant. On the inside he’s a diseased man obsessed with dark sexual addictions. He’s already hip deep in a fierce battle of wills when he finds himself, by way of his ex-wife, thrown into a bizarre rogue investigation born from a doomed airliner’s black box. He must now run head-long into places he’s tried all too often to run from. The closer he gets to the root of this ad hoc probe, the deeper it cuts into his own plagued psyche. Before he knows it, doors he’s dared open in the past, sandwich him between doors newly entered. Now sex, murder and blackmail are attacking this detective’s already tormented soul from every direction, and time is not his friend.
The cobalt blue Audi A7 hummed with mechanical precision as it momentarily paused at the flashing reds. Without ever coming to a complete halt, it made a quick, hard left onto a main thoroughfare, cutting ahead of a lumbering traffic cluster making its way into the city.
Inside the elegant car sat Captain Chase Holden. Middle-aged yet handsome, nearly to the point of dashing, he quickly grabbed his pilot’s cap to prevent it from sliding off the leather seat next to him. While continuing to accelerate, he pulled the cap closer to him, then took a moment to adjust the gold wings pinned on his chest. His sharp airline pilot’s uniform had been flawlessly pressed, creased and donned, and he had every intention of keeping it that way.
Flipping the visor down so he could see himself in its mirror, he raked through his salt and pepper hair. Though most of his colleagues kept their hair high and tight, he liked to wear his a touch on the longish side and sweep it back over his ears. It made him feel more youthful, and perhaps appear a little...unpredictable. When satisfied, he flipped the visor back into place, and with one well-manicured finger, pressed the power button of his custom-installed, 50 watt Blaupunkt stereo. In seconds the car’s interior was encased in the crystal clear resonance of jazz fusion. Artists like Chick Corea, Miles Davis and John Coltrane skillfully emitted from the car’s glossy, dimly lit dash.
Speeding along the freeway now, Chase’s fingers danced along the steering wheel, flawlessly matching every clap of the high-hat, every tap on the snare. He felt good today. He felt in control of things, and Chase liked to be in control of things - especially at forty-five thousand feet and moving seven hundred and fifty miles per hour. His occupation suited him well. He enjoyed working within a tight microcosm of exactitude and authority. A seemingly small world to manage with everything just an arm’s length away. Still, consequences were dire, and the penalties unforgiving for even the smallest miscalculation or error in judgment.
Having made very good time, Chase whipped along the service highway behind the airport’s main terminal. There his Audi fled the sunny skies, like an anxious vampire, and veered into the airport’sdark, underground parking garage. Several exchange ramps carried him deeper and deeper into the metropolis’s subterranean levels. The atmosphere was drastically changing to a world shadowy and cool. As his car engine echoed alone within the cavernous structure, Chase discovered a small spot on the left side of his cheek where a tiny patch of stubble, somehow missed in his morning’s hot shave, still continued to grow. He murmured a curse, and continuing to fuss with it, flipped the visor down to get a closer look at it. A ballsy move considering he was still navigating the near serpentine ramp that descended into the garage’s lower level. Annoyed, he flipped the visor back up with a slap. That little patch would bother him all day, he knew.
Exiting the ramp, the Audi downshifted. Chase stopped in front of his reserved parking space, signified by a small placard bearing his name, and chirped his wheels as he reversed and swung around, choosing to back in as usual. He enjoyed backing into parking spots. It allowed for a more daring exit. First the music died, then the engine. As Chase exited his car, still tapping out unheard jazz riffs, his trunk popped open just as he made it around to the rear. After donning his cap, he retrieved his small luggage caddy and carefully placed it on the ground. He allowed the trunk to softly self-close as he extended the caddy’s telescoping handle. Click-clackety-click-click. He loved that sound. To him, it meant he was going places.
But it was when Chase turned to arm the car’s alarm system that he first noticed the man. Tall, slender and sporting a goatee, he was approximately thirty yards away, standing just behind a vertical support beam. Seeing that Chase had seen him, he paused, looked away and fired up a smoke. The tweet from the car’s alarm system snapped Chase back into routine.
The life of a highly decorated police detective and an airline pilot who dies when his plane crashes are fatally intertwined in Gordian Knot. Detective Lieutenant Robert (Rob) Turner rises through the ranks of the Chicago police force in record time. He receives numerous accolades for taking down major criminal syndicates and drug cartels but his fellow cops consider him a rogue operator and a loner. His obsession with the power that comes with the badge is an addiction that is so consuming he has no time for friends and it destroys his marriage. Rob’s good cop exterior masks his other addiction. He is unable to resist his craving for really dark twisted “bad boy” sex.
Captain Chase Holden is an experienced pilot. He arrives at the airport for his flight but he keeps getting an eerie feeling that his is being followed. He tries to ignore the sense that someone is watching him, but he can’t because the face of a man with a goatee is always there in the crowd. Things get even worse for Chase after liftoff. The plane starts to experience serious mechanical problems and crashes killing everyone on the flight. Just like Rob, Chase looks like the perfect pilot and husband on the outside but he hides an equally twisted dark side.
Chase’s final words before death recorded on the black box haunt Hope, his sister-in-law. She is also Rob’s ex-wife and she seeks out his help when her sister, Chase’s wife is killed in a car accident. She believes these two incidents are connected and she asks Rob to do some investigating. Rob agrees but he has no idea how dangerous this decision is and the affect it will have on his life. During the investigation, Rob notices a mysterious man following him. The unknown fellow knows much about Chase’s darker side and provides Rob with cryptic hints to follow. Unfortunately, he is murdered before Rob can find out why this man knows so much.
Rob works hard to maintain a separation between his professional life and his dark side. He is being stalked and threatened by a woman who knows way too much and it looks like there is no way to stop her. Rob struggles to get out of the bind he is in but every move he makes worsens the situation. Rob is in a race against time to preserve the outwardly facing life he has worked so hard to create, before the truth about his dark side destroys everything.
Joseph DiFrancesco delivers an edgy thriller with a seriously wicked sexual dimension that is so macabre it makes BDSM seem mainstream. Gordian Knot is a perfect title for this book because that is a term used for a seeming impossible problem (or untangling a complicated knot) by cheating or coming up with an “out of the box” solution, thereby “cutting the Gordian knot.” DiFrancesco creates a Gordian knot scenario with the life of Robert Turner and the investigation into his brother-in-law’s death. The only way Rob is going to restore balance is to come up with an unorthodox solution to his dilemma. I started the book expecting it to be interesting but predictable but I was genuinely surprised at the approach the author took to the thriller and quite shocked at the extreme nature of the sexual dimension. DiFranceso recreates a contemporary version of the Gordian knot legend in a well-crafted thriller with a provocative and dark sexual component.
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