Book review: ‘Meet Your Maker’ by Christine Noyes

By TINKY WEISBLAT

For the Recorder 

Published: 05-05-2023 5:31 PM

“Meet Your Maker” is the third mystery novel Christine Noyes of Orange has produced featuring a disabled FBI analyst named Bradley Whitman. It is a well crafted procedural and Noyes knows how to build suspense.

The story begins as Bradley’s friends and family members are planning a surprise party for his 30th birthday. One of the friends is a film producer working on location in Boston, near Bradley’s home. The producer arranges for several partygoers to ride to the event in a limousine leased by the film distributor.

The party is abruptly canceled when an explosion rocks the limousine. It kills the driver outright and seriously injures the passengers, who include Bradley’s boss at the FBI.

Bradley, who uses a wheelchair, is pulled in different directions as he attempts to keep up with the status of his hospitalized friends and simultaneously figure out who planted a bomb in the limousine and why.

He and his colleagues zero in fairly quickly on the film being shot by his producer friend. Called “Maker’s Mark,” the movie is based on a novel titled “Meet Your Maker” written by a local ex-con.

Even after the FBI agents establish the connection to the film and the novel, it takes them a while to identify the bomber. Meanwhile, dead bodies start to pile up. To make matters worse, the production company refuses to pause filming, deeming that step too costly.

Bradley and his team use all their wits and resources — including their boss, who does research from his hospital bed — to figure out who is trying to sabotage the film production. They then must find that person before he hurts anyone else.

The beginning of the book may feel a little confusing to a new reader of Christine Noyes’s work. The book features a number of characters who appeared in the first two Bradley Whitman novels, “Picture of Pretense” and “Shadow in the Sandpit.”

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Keeping the characters straight at first may present a challenge to someone who has not read the previous books. In fact, I recommend reading them before turning to this one, as I did.

That way, the reader can understand the author’s — and Bradley’s — investment in the community Noyes has built around the young FBI analyst.

Once the book gets moving, however, any reader will be caught up in the deft maneuvers of Bradley Whitman and his colleagues.

Noyes is a prolific writer. “Shadow in the Sandpit” came out only last year, and according to the publisher the next installment of Bradley’s adventures, “The Pathside Predator,” is due out later in 2023. I look forward to reading it.

Tinky Weisblat is an award-winning author and singer. Her latest book is “Pot Luck: Random Acts of Cooking.” Visit her website, TinkyCooks.com.

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