Killer Nashville Book of the Day

Cover Image_STILETTO

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Author Photo_Daniel O'Malley

Daniel O’Malley

Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley
Reviewed by Clay Snellgrove

Stiletto, the newest supernatural thriller from Daniel O’Malley, is X-Men meets Mark Millar’s Secret Service (produced as Kingsman: The Secret Service on the big screen). But unlike the blockbuster comics that seem to expect their audiences to suspend disbelief, O’Malley uses his literary parlance to construct an alternate reality that earns the reader’s attention and trust. While his characters possess an array of supernatural powers, everything from telepathy to telekinesis to controlling animals with mere thoughts, O’Malley stays grounded in his story and never lets any of his characters feel invisible. The result is a high stakes page turner that never lets up on the throttle. Stiletto is a sequel of sorts to O’Malley’s earlier effort The Rook; however readers need not read the earlier book to enjoy the newest one.

The Checquy, a clandestine British spy agency, has been protecting Great Britain from supernatural threats for centuries. The agents, highly trained in combat and reconnaissance, have unique super-powers and, unbeknownst to their fellow citizens, often give their life in defense of their country. In the 1600’s the Checquy fought its deadliest battle, fending off an army of genetically modified super humans known as The Grafters. Four hundred years later, the leaders of these two groups will try to negotiate a peace. A series of deadly attacks that carry the Grafter’s signature threaten the peace talks and look to ignite another bloody conflict between the two secret organizations.

Pawn Felicity Clements, a competent Checquy soldier, can leave her body and travel through inanimate objects, seeing the past and identifying threats. Pulled from her normal post, Clements is charged with protecting Odette Leliefeld, a member of The Grafter’s negotiation team. Higher ups in the Checquy distrust the Grafter and suspect she is connected with the current terror attacks. But they understand that if she is harmed, any chance at peace will disappear.

Clements and Leliefeld are an engaging pair. Both are attractive and highly capable mutants, Clements born with her powers, while Leliefeld is genetically engineered. Their relationship is adversarial. Clements’ superior Rook Myfanwy Thomas tells her soldier to prepare for a kill order on Leliefeld. Before the execution order comes down, the two women forge a delicate friendship while teaming up to battle several deadly attacks on Britain.

Stiletto is gruesome and exciting. The author mines every inch of his imagination in bringing the multitude of rich characters to life. O’Malley drops in humor and history as he pieces together an engaging plot. Readers will race to the finish and be more than satisfied, asking only one question, “How long do I have to wait for O’Malley’s next book?”

Clay Snellgrove is the author of The Ball Player. He’s a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University. A former professional baseball player, Clay holds an MFA in creative writing from Converse College.

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