Adam Hamdy's high-octane novel Pendulum is the very definition of addictive reading. This taut cat-and-mouse thriller throws readers immediately into the action when photojournalist John Wallace awakens in his apartment to discover he's been drugged and bound. His hulking captor is a cunning serial killer in black armor whose face is hidden with a black mask and black goggles. The killer has put a noose around Wallace's neck, tied it to a rafter and is intent on making this murder look like a suicide. Through sheer luck, John is able to escape (albeit with some broken ribs and collarbone), but the murderer is constantly on his heels as he attempts to hide and piece together who is after him and why.

John Wallace is an interesting protagonist, withdrawn and adrift. While shooting photos in Afghanistan, he witnessed the massacre of innocent women and children, but though he testified against the men responsible, the case was lost and the stress from the trial ruined many relationships. Pendulum, the first book in a proposed trilogy, outpaces most psychological thrillers with the richness of its lead character and the abundance of strong, interesting supporting characters.

Some of the action is a bit far-fetched, but the pacing is relentless in a way that allows readers to suspend disbelief easily. Pendulum has so many twists, turns and surprises that the less readers know about the story, the more they'll enjoy the ride. --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant

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