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FREEFALL, the second book in Adam Hamdy’s Pendulum trilogy, a series of cyber-conspiracy thrillers, takes the reader around the globe --- from London to Nuristan in Afghanistan, New York and Geneva.

Set eight months after the ending of Pendulum, this sequel opens with journalist Sylvia “Vee” Greene hanging herself in her London bedroom. She leaves behind a note intended for Detective Inspector Patrick Bailey with a code that he has to decipher. First, he, FBI Agent Christine Ash and a far-flung group of white hats must figure out how her death ties into larger events that Vee was investigating.

"[T]hough the book ends with some members of the conspiracy dead or jailed, there’s enough still skulking around to emerge in the final volume."

For the reader who hasn’t started with the first book in the trilogy, there’s much to decipher beyond Vee’s code. Who was Pendulum, and how many others were working with him to carry out his mission? What are they after, and how broad is their conspiracy? Why does journalist John Wallace feel so responsible for those who were killed as he battled Pendulum, and who’s now hunting him?

The timely plot revolves around a sophisticated group of anarchists who are redistributing wealth by manipulating the financial system and casting suspicion on the government agencies that might be able to prevent it. How the actual redistribution is structured is never explained, other than to refer to a congressional bill that would introduce blockchain technology into financial transactions --- allowing the conspirators to manipulate individual accounts. But technology plays a backseat to torture and shootouts, which take place in multiple locales and touch all of the characters. Hamdy attempts to make the reader care about what happens to the good guys, with backstories about their lives, and even a little romance between chase scenes.

But while PENDULUM garnered some good reviews and sales, FREEFALL is less likely to do either. Fast-paced with multiple story lines, it is also filled with clumsy writing and typos: In one paragraph alone, “Bailey was needled from unconsciousness” and “a voiced sneered.”  Eyes snap open, breath percolates, words are spat ---  the faster the pace, the poorer Hamdy’s writing. And, of course, though the book ends with some members of the conspiracy dead or jailed, there’s enough still skulking around to emerge in the final volume. Don’t wait up.

Reviewed by Lorraine W. Shanley on August 3, 2018

by Adam Hamdy

  • Publication Date: July 9, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus
  • ISBN-10: 163506001X
  • ISBN-13: 9781635060010