As her fifth suspense novel, "The Tiger's Cage" is exactly what I've come to expect from Linda J. White. Fans know her books as white-knuckle fiction, and there's a reason for that. Each book revolves around an FBI Agent who is working on a complex and dangerous case at the same time as a personal crisis unfolds in their lives. In her earlier books she put her characters through the proverbial wringer- and dragged the reader along!- but this is the most intense story yet.
"The Tiger's Cage" is the story of a father and son- Tom and Kenny Donovan. Tom is an FBI Special Agent poised to take down a drug kingpin, and Kenny is teenager who adores his never-back-down Dad. Their life is good. Not perfect, of course- Tom's wife wants more communication from him, and Kenny does too, and the work of law enforcement takes its toll on a whole family. Essentially, though, everything is fine. Until a January night when it isn't anymore.
What happens when a son is harmed to send a message to a father?
For Tom, the stakes couldn't be higher. The brave man he tries to be doesn't back down in the face of evil, and the threat against his child is an evil he never saw coming.
The most satisfying part of Linda's books is the way she combines layers of clues, scenes of FBI action, and sudden plot twists while steadily building realistic characters. She writes her Agents as competent investigators and dedicated enforcers of the law, and also as flesh and blood humans with fears and families. Those last two dynamics come strongly into play in Tiger's Cage. For Tom this isn't just a case anymore- its about saving his son, rescuing the future of his family and redeeming the greatest wound in his past.
But don't get me wrong- relationships and redemption come as part and parcel of the mystery, and they don't slow the trajectory of the case down one bit. No, this book builds steadily to a taut-wire ending scene that still draws me in even on a re-read.
In "The Tiger's Cage," we see what a few good men will do when they're faced with injustice.
It makes for some fine reading.