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Book Review: Terror Flower: A Novel by Thomas Hollyday

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In Terror Flower by Thomas Hollyday, Captain Bob, a local fisherman, is found drowned in what is assumed, by the local sheriff and the townspeople, to be a fishing accident. However, Bob’s grandson, Smote Rojas, believes it was murder and convinces Jim Tench, a local garage owner and builder of custom race cars, to join him in an investigation.

River Sunday, a sleepy port town on Chesapeake harbor on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, was not ready for the influx of demonstrators and terrorism that came when Dr. Madeline Owerri addresses a group of United Nations’ representatives in town for a weekend conference. A bomb explosion, in the conference room of the hotel at the end of her presentation, creates panic, fear, and pandemonium. Any semblance of crowd control is momentarily lost.

A number of clues connect the Captain Bob’s death to William Strake, a billionaire oilman and collector of antique automobiles. The bomb scare adds another dimension to Tench’s investigation when Tench discovers an alliance between Dr. Owerri and Stagmatter, curator of Strake’s Antique Car Museum.

A code name, “Black-Eyed Susan,” is the only clue Tench has to go on as the mystery and intrigue heightens and the danger escalates.

Vivid description involves the readers’ five senses: I experience the odorous smell of creosote, the roaring exhaust sound of the 1932 Mercedes Roadster, and the feel of the boards coarse against the skin of my legs.

Thomas Hollyday combines a moving plot as evil forces agitate local power struggles and division, motivated by revenge, racism, and greed, in a cycle of conflict and resolution to maintain adrenaline-pumping action. His clearly-defined characters are marked by speech patterns and vocabulary choices that include backgrounds and training from four continents. Hollyday combines the elements of a political thriller, romance, suspense, and fast-moving action.

Terror Flower by Thomas Hollyday is politically explosive writing, charged with intensity, suspense, in a setting of terrorism motivate by hatred, greed, and revenge.

(Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views)

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