What a turnaround! One minute she is on a high from getting Senator Grable to admit to influence peddling and then, before the evening is over, Special Agent Mackenzie Graham is trying to help him. No wonder the powerful Senator didn’t want her on the special team to help him find his young five year old daughter Zoe who had been kidnapped from her bed. To top it off, she had neglected to pack an away bag in her car. Why had she made such a newbie mistake? Despite that inglorious start, Special Agent Scott Hansbrough had his own reasons for keeping the attractive blonde agent on his team. Kenzie is a forensic psycholinguist and has the skills to decipher clues from small bits of conversation or from scraps of writing. With her ability to pay attention to even the smallest detail, her special skills would be needed if they were to capture the kidnapper in time.
Scott has also asked Special Agent John Crowfeather to be on the team. John is a very well experienced agent, but has little faith in academics and he worries that Kenzie’s inexperience in the field can create problems. Scott and Kenzie rub each other the wrong way, but Scott feels they are both needed. Given the tenseness of the situation, can they work together or will they hinder each other? As they hear the news about the young Zoe’s medical situation making the situation even more critical, will Mackenzie be able to discern the clues from the kidnapper in time to save the little girl?
Linda J. White has a strong track record of writing FBI thrillers due to her many personal connections and friendships resulting from her husband’s twenty-five years of service at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. As a result, her books ring true in discussing police tactics and research. White’s latest book, WORDS OF CONVICTION, also has that authentic quality and it is sure to be a winner!
White’s skill in developing her characters, both main and secondary, is evident right from the opening paragraph. From that intriguing start, the reader instantly clues into how the protagonist, Mackenzie Graham, is using her skills. Kenzie, as she is called by her friends is such an open, likeable and entertaining character that you can just feel her every emotion as she deals with her own professional and personal feelings. Without giving too much away, Kenzie and John, a Navajo, make an unlikely and intriguing pair coming from quite different worlds, and trying to find a way to trust each other and work together for the mission. White is a writer who is not shy about writing about God and her characters’ spiritual needs. Her special talent is that she blends talking about faith and God so well into the story line that it comes across in a very natural and appropriate manner, so readers (be they Christian or otherwise) fully appreciate how it enhances the drama and the emotional state of the characters.
WORDS OF CONVICTION is definitely a first rate and exciting mystery with strong well drawn characters that will keep you turning pages as fast as you can to find out what happens. I do not know if White intends to write another book featuring Special Agent Mackenzie Graham, but I would be a very happy camper if she did. I particularly relished the sections where Kenzie is using her skills as a forensic psycholinguist to assess the kidnapper’s words for threat assessment, deception and other background characteristics that would help lead the FBI to figure out the person’s identity. The mystery is if it can be done in time! So, get on the case and find out! You will be glad you did!
There’s nothing as convicting as words that threaten your daughter’s life. You want your kid back? Do just as I say. You do not know who I am. But I’ve studied you, you and your family. I’ve been watching you. You’ve been using people. Because you’re greedy. Now, it’s payback time. Terrifying for any parent, these words are especially grim for Senator Bruce Grable, whose guilt may be the reason his five-year-old daughter, Zoe, has disappeared.
Or is it because of his wife, whose words make her sound more the victim than their daughter? Or their nanny, whose silence harbors her own secrets? One thing is for sure: The words hold the clues to finding Zoe alive. And it’s up to Special Agent Mackenzie Graham, a forensic psycholinguist, and FBI agent John Crowfeather to decode the messages in time.