Friday, February 27, 2015

Dee Davis -- Endgame

Dee Davis -- Endgame

Rated: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ . ♥   {4.35}           {Third Read: February 26, 2015}
Action: ♠♠ / Emotion: ♣♣♣ / Romance: ♥♥♥.♥ / Sensuous: ♦♦ / Suspense: ♠♠♠♠
Action: 2.0 / Emotion: 3.0 / Romance: 3.5 / Sensuous: 2.0 / Suspense: 4.0  //  Laughter: 1 / Giggle: 1  //  Tears: 0 / Teary: 0

Rated: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ . ♥   {4.65}           {Second Read: March 20, 2012}
Action: ♠♠.♠ / Emotion: ♣♣♣♣ / Romance: ♥♥♥ / Sensuous: ♦♦.♦ / Suspense: ♠♠♠♠.♠
Action: 2.5 / Emotion: 4.0 / Romance: 3.0 / Sensuous: 2.5 / Suspense: 4.5  //  Laughter: 4 / Giggle: 1  //  Tears: 0 / Teary: 2

Setting:       New York City
Era:             Present Day (2005)
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Oh my goodness!   What a difference your frame of mind makes when you're reading.   The first two times I read this book, I was so into the book, so into the story that I laughed and cried.   This time when I read the book, my mind was off kilter.   I didn't really seem to be in the mood to read (if such a state of mind is truly possible).   I read this book because I was on a roll when it came to making blog entries and wanted to see if I could write a better review about Endgame.

Dee Davis can be found on my "Favorite Authors" list.   She has a wonderful style of writing that really draws readers into whatever story she is telling.   Endgame, the first book in The Last Chance Trilogy, is just another example of Davis's skill at telling a thrilling, intriguing, attention-grabbing story.   If there was a drawback while reading this book, it was that Davis choose to write this story around a subject that was (for some reason) not all that interesting.   Sorry, but reading details about the American Business Consortium, a group of about fifty U.S. companies working on a trade deal with China, was not the most stimulating subject matter out there.   It was obvious, however, that Davis choose this background to feature the big man behind the scenes that brought all the main characters into play.

Davis did an excellent job of immediately drawing the reader into the suspenseful nature of the story as she opened the book with a well-written scene describing the assassination of the current chairman of ABC.   In two short pages Davis introduced and ended the life of Bingham "Bing" Smith.   Davis did such a great job of describing the scene that it was like standing right next to Bing, feeling his frustration because he was late to a meeting and his driver had not arrived, thus forcing him to have to take the subway.
"Subways disgusted him.   Humanity pressed together, pushing and shoving, all decorum lost."   (Bing, page 13)
When an old man painfully jabs Bing with his umbrella and rushes on, you could not help but begin to feel sorry for Bing simply because you knew that, as a character in a Romantic Suspense novel, it was obvious that Bing had just been fatally wounded.   Davis created that immediate connection to the reader, who can't help but wonder: {1} who killed Bing; {2} why was Bing the chosen victim; {3} what deal was Bing closing; {4} inconsequently, where was Bing's driver; {5} what role does Bing's death play in the story line, and finally, {6} what in the world does the last very cryptic sentence of the prologue mean?
"Six down, three to go."   (Killer, page 15)
The next character Davis introduces is the dynamic, intelligent, self-confident heroine, FBI profiler, Madison Harper.   Davis writes a powerful scene, reminiscent of those featuring Brenda Leigh Johnson of the tv series, The Closer.   Davis's writing is so profoundly realistic that with one very well-written, descriptive sentence, she almost has readers wrinkling their noses in disgust as Madison thinks:
"Interrogation rooms ranked only slightly above gas station restrooms in the stench and filth department."   (page 16)
Madison then proceeds to gain the "resentful admiration" of Detective Barton (who was playing bad cop to her good cop role) as she sweet talks a confession from the suspect, Paul Jackson, the man who killed Connie Weston, a vivacious fifth grader.

After concluding the interrogation, Madison is surprised to find her boss, Walter Blythe, director of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit, waiting outside the interrogation room to give her the bad news that she is to be relieved of all her current assignments to co-lead a special task force being assembled by her godfather, the wealthy, powerful, "has the president's ear" businessman Cullen Pulaski.   Madison is furious because she has struggled to succeed in her chosen career by her skill set alone, making sure that no strings were pulled in her advancement by either her wealthy and powerful father, Philip Merrick, nor her godfather.

Madison is not the only main character furious at being manipulated by Cullen.   Evan Jensen, the CIA's youngest deputy director pulls one of his best CIA operatives, loner, rule-breaking, Gabriel "Gabe" Roarke, from his undercover operation to inform him that the man that created a haunting history for him, has requested that Gabe share command of a special task force.   Cullen wants Gabe to find the man who is killing off members of the American Business Consortium.   Cullen is a member of the consortium that has been diligently working on a lucrative business arrangement with a Chinese delegation for the past three years.

Over fourteen years ago, Gabe was the leader of a Delta Force Unit (called Last Chance, Inc.) that Cullen commandeered to make a last ditch effort to rescue one of his employees being held hostage in Iraq.   Staying within the guidelines as proscribed by any black ops operation, Davis does not reveal any details about the operation that plagues the minds of the three survivors of the eight-man rescue team.   (Seeing as how this is fiction, it would have been interesting, however, to read about the operation that fills Gabe with guilt.)   Because Gabe is allowed to choose his task force members, he calls on the other two men who survived that operation.

Davis is talented at including succinct, well-written sentences that increase the degree of suspense to an already intriguing plot line.   Nigel Ferris leaves his own undercover operation for MI6 to answer Gabe's call for help on the Cullen Pulaski case.   You cannot help but be fascinated by Nigel (hero of book three, Exposure), as Davis brings this complex character to life with moments of charm, wit, loyalty, disrespect and deceit.   Nigel's conflict is evidenced quickly:
"Gabriel Roarke wasn't a man one wanted to cross, and certainly never betray."   "And yet, if Nigel was to be true to his directive -- that's exactly what he was about to do."   (page 31)
Davis is going to have to do an amazing job at redeeming Nigel because, while he was loyal to his country, he did, in fact, betray his friend.   After discovering Nigel's sabotage, Gabe and Payton tried to explain about the perceptions of right and wrong in the intelligence world, but I have to agree with Madison and Harrison -- that Nigel should pay some price for his actions.
"It's a gray area, right and wrong.   As I said before it's all perception.   What we view as right is wrong for someone else."   (Gabe, page 287)
Again, Davis inspires the desire to know about that Delta Force rescue fourteen years ago to understand what happened that resulted in the scar that bisected the face of the final member of Gabe's team, Payton Reynolds.   Payton's lone wolf persona almost makes Gabe seem like a people person.   Payton is a great asset to the team because of his contacts to Beijing.   Even though Payton attempts to blend into the background, he fails because Davis imbues him with such a strong sense of presence.   Davis also did such a great job of describing Payton's deep, almost inaudible voice, that when he spoke, you almost leaned forward to read his words.   Davis really made Payton come across as an outstanding character as she wrote scene after scene in which Nigel taunted Payton, and not once did Payton take the bait.   Davis portrayed Payton with strength, intelligence, and intuition.   Davis did such a great job of developing Payton's personality that she has insured that readers will want to pick up the next book in the series (Enigma) to read his story.

Gabe was not the only team leader to call in people he could trust to back him.   Madison asked her friend and one of the best computer forensic's men in the country to join the task force.   Harrison Blake was the epitome of the boy next door -- a charismatic, charming, sunny-dispositioned, multi-tasking, computer genius.   Harrison had trained with Madison at Quantico, but he left the FBI to work for the Phoenix group.   Davis's creativity was highlighted when she used Harrison's insight and friendship with Madison (the people-reading expert) to point out Madison's interest in her co-leader.   Feelings Madison didn't want to admit.
"Was it my imagination or did he have a bit of a God complex?"
"I think maybe you're overstating things just a bit."   Harrison laughed, leaning back against the conference table.
"Not at all.   The man practically dragged me back to the cave by my hair."
"Well, I'll have to agree with the cave part.   But if your reaction is anything to judge by, I'd say he'd have gotten you there without damaging your do."   (Harrison and Madison, page 47)

Harrison held up his hands and defense.   "Nothing.   I just call them the way I see them.   And you've got to admit that Roarke has your number.   He hit nine out of ten buttons and has reduced you to shrieking."   (Harrison, page 47)

"You were saying that the obvious ploy for a terrorist is to make a splash."
"And you, as usual, were disagreeing."   She hadn't meant to snap, but the man was trying, to say the least.
Harrison's lips quivered as he tried to contain a laugh.   (Gabe and Madison, page 93)
Madison's childhood caused her to be just as much a loner as Gabe.   First, free-spirited Alexis Harper, Madison's mother, left her husband and took her baby and traveled around the country.   Philip Merrick demanded custody of his school-aged daughter and then left her in the care of nannies, private schools, and boarding schools because his business was the most important thing in his life.   Madison's self-reliance became even more deep after she married then divorced Rick Wagner -- a man who wanted to live off her father's money.

The sparks that flew between Gabe and Madison were phenomenal.   Gabe was not looking forward to sharing the leadership role with Cullen's probably prima donna goddaughter.   When Gabe walked into the Dreamscape operations room and started issuing orders, Madison struggled to keep her calm-faced façade in place so Gabe wouldn't know that he was pushing her buttons.   Not to be outdone, Madison was constantly trying to read Gabe and take over control of each team meeting.   The book was peppered with entertaining one-up-man-ship thoughts and actions.

Madison constantly struggled with her attraction to Gabe -- the handsome very definition of alpha male.   After being burned by Rick, Madison was determined to never entertain the dream of having a supportive mate.   She particularly did not want a controlling man (like her father and godfather).   Gabe was just as talented at reading people as Madison and could see that Madison was as interested in him as he was in her.   Both being stubborn, self-sufficient, strong-willed people, they fought that attraction through half the book.   When Davis wrote the very sensual, sizzling emotional love scene with Madison still fighting to be in charge, she had romance readers everywhere melting when she closed the scene and the chapter with:
"And just like that, Gabriel Roarke fell in love."   (page 234)
Not only were Madison and Gabe having difficulties because each was trying to one-up the other when it came to the leadership role while they were fighting their attraction, they were also in conflict when it came to Cullen.   Because Gabe lost men when Cullen played "king of the hill" to free his employee from Iraq, he constantly saw Cullen as the greedy, "win at all costs" businessman who had no compassion for the little man.   Madison, on the other hand, saw Cullen as the godfather who stepped in and loved and cared for her because her father was too busy and her mother was too flighty.

Although Davis tried to humanize Cullen, by detailing Madison's thoughts about her godfather, she did a much better job of describing the attitude and mindset of Cullen Pulaski, the owner of Dreamscape, a Fortune 500 company, and the current acting Chairman of ABC, that made him come across as just the kind of greedy CEO that would do anything, use anyone, to further his goals, no matter the cost.
"Look, the reality is that Cullen Pulaski snaps his fingers and people jump to do his bidding, no matter the cost."   (Gabe, page 146)

"Cullen doesn't do anything unless there in something in it for him.   (Thomas McGee, page 318)
You have to wonder why Cullen choose Gabe to head up his murder investigation.   After all, he was a CIA operative, not a detective!   You also have to assume that Cullen would know that Gabe would have negative feelings towards his tendency to move people around his chessboard without their permission and, thus, would not be a welcome addition to his team.   So why did Cullen ask Gabe to head his team?   Davis leaves one to wonder if maybe Gabe is still considered the man to call when all else fails.   And then does Cullen demand that his goddaughter, the incredibly talented and skilled FBI Profiler, co-chair the team to keep Gabe in line?
"To keep me in line?"   He took a step toward her, but she held her ground.   "Honey, there's not a woman alive who can do that."   (Gabe, page 156)
Surprisingly, Madison's father, Philip Merrick, played a very minor role in the book.   Sure he appeared periodically during the story, but his presence was not as commanding as Cullen's.   Probably the most entertaining scene involving Philip was the morning after when Gabe answered Madison's phone.
He reached Madison's phone first, and answered it with a terse hello, only to immediately wish he had not picked it up at all.   Philip Merrick was on the other end, and from the baited silence he was currently enduring, none too happy to have his daughter's phone answered by a man.   (Gage, page 240)
Thanks to Nigel and his misdirections, the task force spent more time in the operations room, studying files and interviewing relatives of victims than in an actual action-packed search for the killer.   Endgame, therefore, felt a bit more like a police procedural than an adventurous romantic suspense novel.   Then there was the added suspense factor as Davis kept inserting Cullen (in point of view voice) in his office worried about his role in this entire endeavor and obviously hiding something.   As the team uncovered more and more details about the cause of death of each of the victims, Cullen began to look guilty.   The question then rose, if Cullen is guilty, why did he instigate an investigation?

Cullen was not the only member of the consortium overseeing the investigation.   Two other businessmen added even more depth and suspense to the search.   Madison knew these two longtime associates of her father, Kingston Sinclair, the head of Radion Enterprises, and Jeremy Bosner of Activitron Electronics.   Both men added to the suspect pool that the task force had to choose from.   The biggest problem facing the group was motive.   Why would any member of the consortium risk endangering a very lucrative business arrangement with the Chinese by killing off key players in the negotiations.

Davis included one really interesting minor supporting character into this story and made her so fascinating the you couldn't help but want to read more about her.   Gabe and Madison called upon Tracy Braxton, the head of Braxton Labs, one of the best forensics labs in the country, to help them determine whether the deaths of multiple members of ABC could actually be attributed to murder.

In conclusion, Endgame, the first book in The Last Chance Trilogy, turned out to be a very entertaining, suspenseful read.   It included: {1} The Hero, Gabriel Roarke, an ex-Delta Force, hunky, gorgeous, strong-willed, self-sufficient alpha male who struggled with his emotions of guilt, was strong enough to overcome a parentless childhood, and displayed moments of vulnerability.   It would take a very tough hero to partner such a strong heroine.   {2} The Heroine, Madison Harper, a phenomenal, extremely intelligent, intuitive, capable and attractive FBI profiler, who was constantly "reading" people.   She earned her way in life and did not use her connections to a rich and powerful father and godfather to climb the professional ladder.   {3} A marked degree of romance inhabited the story as the unwanted, but undeniable, attraction sparked between Gabe and Madison.   {4} The inclusion of sizzling, heated, passionate lovemaking scenes added plenty of sensuality to the story.   {5} The suspense, while not nail-bitingly intense, included lots of twists and turns as the task force tried to discover the motives and the identity of the killer, including plenty of intriguing rabbit trails to throw shadows on the investigation.   {6} Davis very cleverly writes her opinions about certain aspects of life by pouring the words out of the mouths of the characters.   She included viewpoints on {a} the perception of righteousness; {b} seeking parental approval; and {c} acceptance of things one cannot change.   {7} The inclusion of several well-developed, intriguing supporting characters added interest to the story: {a} Nigel Ferris, {b} Payton Reynolds, {c} Cullen Pulaski, and {d} Harrison Blake.   And, finally, {8} the addition of   lesser-developed supporting characters that added depth and realism to story: {a} Philip Merrick, {b} Kingston Sinclair, {c} Jeremy Bosner, and {d} Tracy Braxton.   Would quickly recommend this book to readers who enjoy a good procedural romantic suspense novel.
--Vonda M. Reid (Friday, February 27, 2015 : 4:23 a.m.)     [369]
February 27, 2015: This review still leaves something to be desired.   It is, basically, an edited version of the March 21, 2012 review.
March 21, 2012: I read Dee Davis's The Last Chance Trilogy four years ago.   Due to a poor memory, I could not recall many details that were contained in these books.   I decided to re-read this series because I could not remember anything about Harrison Blake and I was getting ready to read his book (Deadly Dance, Book 5 in The A-Tac Series).

Books In The Series: "The Last Chance Trilogy"
# Date Title Hero Heroine
01.03-2005EndgameGabriel "Gabe" Roarke: CIA OperativeMadison Harper: FBI Profiler
02.06-2005EnigmaPayton Reynolds: CIA OperativeSamantha "Sam" Waters: ATF Explosives Enforcement Officer
03.09-2005ExposureNigel Ferris: MI6 OperativeMelissa Pope: CIA Operative
3.512-2013EscapeTracy Braxton: Forensic PathologistSeth Forester: FBI Agent

Characters Found In "Endgame"
Character Description
Gabriel "Gabe" Roarke[Hero] crack CIA operative: (22) loner; "Gabe" (23) cynic; 14 years with CIA (24) operative skills unimpeachable; attitude is not (27) tumultuous style; not a share-command kind of guy (29) Delta Force (36) 5 years in Army, 3 with Delta Force; list of medals longer than arm; black ops (41) testosterone junkie; quick to put himself in harm's way; would command fierce loyalty among his friends (41) trouble with rules and superiors; smart enough to have turned the detriment into an asset; kept his own counsel; deep, bass voice; pale blue eyes; hard, chiseled face; black hair; rakish look; knew his effect on fairer sex (42) off-putting; kept the world at arm's length; totally self-contained; man of mystery (43) slow, amazingly sensual smile; loyal to a fault (44) black brows (46) 'he'd lost himself years ago, his identity eroding away '; 'what was left was an empty shell'; 'easier to bury himself in work, to hide from the past and the mistakes he'd made' (48) nothing casual about him; even relaxed, held himself under tight control (54) disarming smile (81) deep, smoky voice (84) didn't like being played (114) got off on adrenaline rushes; takes what wants; quick to land smack-dab in middle of danger; natural leader, but not comfortable with the role; loner; commands loyalty; didn't allow anyone to get close; came from troubled background, self-reliance only thing that got him through; thinks he had the whole world fooled (117) black hair, wiry and strong (118) had a problem with the chain of command (143) not exactly 'play by the rules' kind of guy (172) grew up as part of the system, foster care and juvenile homes (176) not the kind of man you could relegate to the back burner (177) one hundred percent man; very definition of alpha male (209) take no prisoners kind of man; calloused palms (228) had scars everywhere (239) headstrong; reckless (296) always gone full tilt for the things he wanted (336)
Madison Harper[Heroine] FBI criminal profiler (16) graciously accepting compliments had never been her strong suit (21) member of Investigative Support Unit (28) 7 years with Bureau; 5 with ISU (42) cracking personalities was her specialty (43) hated being dictated to more than anything, shades of a childhood spent with a business tycoon for a father (46) real beauty; long legs; tight ass; silky blond hair; California clean with a New York City edge; piercing gray eyes (47) silver laced with steel eyes; had a backbone (51) wore Chanel No. 5 (52) cool façade ran straight through to the core; wore hair in ponytail (66) wasn't one to back away from a challenge (70) nomadic life; raised by nannies, private schools, boarding schools (77) Vassar; married first man who asked; spent the better part of her adult years trying to establish a life separate from her father (78) magna cum laude from Vassar; attended Harvard law to please father; graduated with honors; joined FBI (86) always prided herself on her self control (94) same gray eyes as father (171) beautiful face (205) thought too much; over-analyzed everything (209) headstrong; reckless (296)
. . .. . .
Frederick Aston[No Appearance] died; member of consortium (57) close friend and confidant of Bingham (60) first of the six men to die (66) history of heart of problems (69) killed at home (72)
Robert Barnes[No Appearance] ABC member; part of team negotiating with China; killed when one of warehouses burned to ground (26) key player in negotiations with China (27) bulk of estate went to charity; couple of ex-wives; no children (67) served on the steering committee, went on to serve on consortium board; first chair of the active delegation meeting with the Chinese (125)
Detective Barton[One Appearance] NYPD; in the interrogation room along with Madison and Paul Jackson; skeptical; despite obvious disapproval, didn't interfere (17)
Harrison Blake[A-Tac Book 5 / Deadly Dance] Madison asked him to work on investigative team // hair sticking up every which way; epitome of boy next door; one of best forensic men in the country; Madison's friend; trained together in Quantico; left FBI for private sector (32) multi-tasking; typing, talking at same time; hazel eyes (33) saw computer as endless puzzle; almost obsessive fascination; could access almost any system; saw patterns in data others missed (34) worked for Phoenix (41) genius with a computer (43) "I just call them the way I see them" (47) quick to jump to Madison's defense (90) his keen eye seeing more than Madison wanted him to (92) Madison's best friend (97) ate like horse, never showed an ounce of it (123) low-profile; old-fashioned; charming; opened doors for women; really listened when they talked; sunny grin; Southern charisma that made him irresistible to opposite sex; totally oblivious to his effect on women (255) his ever-present laptop open in front of him (265)
Walter Blythe[One Appearance] told Madison she was being pulled from her current assignments to co-lead a task force being put together by Cullen Pulaski; director of FBI's Behavioral Science Unit; for all practical purposes, had written book on profiling (21)
Jeremy Bosner[Secondary Character] old friends with Madison's father; role of kindly uncle Madison's entire life; vice-chairman of consortium; should have taken charge at Bingham's death; passed over (54) Activitron Electronics (56) card-carrying member of America's industrial elite (56) tall to the point of seeming gaunt; looked more like befuddled professor than business tycoon (63) graying hair (64) barracuda (65) always had hidden agendas; soft spot for Madison (135) lived in brownstone on Sutton Place (187)
Tracy Braxton[Secondary Character] head of Braxton Labs; the best in the country (46) dark braided hair; high cheekbones; flawless ebony skin (70) looked more like Victoria's Secret model than a pathologist (71)
Chiao Chien[No Appearance] primary negotiator for Chinese delegation (135)
Edward Clinton[No Appearance] Bluemax founder; patented process for producing semiconductors that dramatically cut cost per unit; killed himself six months after leveraged buyout, lost court case (337)
Alicia Dashal[One Appearance] interviewed by Nigel and Payton // Jacob's wife (102) perfectly made-up face accentuated with a permanent smile, the effect of one too many plastic surgeries (103) too much money; too much time; not the sense God gave a goose; tottering on high heels meant for a much younger woman (104)
Jacob Dashal[No Appearance] ABC member; part of team negotiating with China; electrocuted (26) key player in negotiations with China (27) on original steering committee; coordinated efforts with Department of State (60) had family in Virginia (96) liked to work with wood (103) died four months ago (104) Robert Barnes's second in command (126)
Ed[One Appearance] handsome older man; new; concierge to Madison's apartment building (342)
Nigel Ferris[pov] [Secondary Character] [Book 3 / Exposure] Gabe asked him to work on investigative team // spent better part of his career taking risks no same human would even contemplate; afraid of airplanes (30) bond between him, Gabe and Payton forged in fire (35) Englishman; ever-vigilant; British to the core; breeding of an earl; morals of street urchin; one of MI6's best operatives (36) curly brown hair framed a wonderfully craggy face highlighted by a pencil-thin moustache and neatly shaved half beard; turtleneck sweater, tweed jacked, corduroy pants (54) lilting accent; from Gloucestershire (57) record was exemplary; a team player who'd made a career out of coming through in the most dire of circumstances; loyalty to friends was secondary to loyalty to country (79) interviewing widows was not his cup of tea, would prefer the Bolivian jungle (102) not a man to suffer fools lightly (103) brought up to despise people with too much money, too much time, and no sense (104) clearly preferring action to talk (128) smoker (140) consummate diplomat (147) not exactly 'play by the rules' kind of guy (172) bid of a prima donna at times (249)
Gibson [No Appearance] Patterson butler (138)
Alexis Harper[No Appearance] Madison's mother; original free spirit; five years after marriage, Alexis took her baby and traveled around the country (77) sprawling home in New Mexico (79) always fighting for some cause; comfortable relationship with Philip Merrick (173) a free spirit; remarried (215)
Harry[One Appearance] doorman to Madison's apartment building (34)
Paul Jackson[One Appearance] suspect in NYPD interrogation room; interrogated by Madison; white button down; khakis; bloodshot eyes (16) worked for local cable company; newly divorced; recently discharged from army; rap sheet: suspected rape, arson charges; cocky; confident; helpful (18)
Evan Jensen[One Appearance] Gabe Roarke's boss; notified Gabe that he was being pulled from his current assignment to co-lead a task force for Cullen Pulaski // forty-five; CIA's youngest deputy director; sheer presence (23) soft voice, tempered with steel (24)
Anderson "Andy" McGee[No Appearance] killed; lived in old home on 10 acres in Connecticut (268) an invalid of sorts, a semi-recluse, living on family money, having little to do with the outside world; self-taught expert in Chinese diplomacy; traveled often to Far East as younger man; reputation as a historian and scholar; had fronted negotiations when consortium began; had drafted and reviewed almost every document sent to Beijing; his knowledge of protocol was critical to the success of the endeavor; one shot to the head; his death similar to Jeremy's (269) diagnosed 5-y-a as paranoid schizophrenic (316)
Martha McGee[One Appearance] Andy McGee's mother; interviewed Gabe and Madison (316)
Thomas McGee[One Appearance] Andy McGee's father; interviewed Gabe and Madison (316)
Luther Macomb[No Appearance] died; member of consortium (57) on the original steering committee in negotiations with China (60) car wreck occurred in Albany (96) police records about death sketchy at best; raining that night, visibility poor, road conditions sucked, slid through guard railing, off embankment, car exploded on impact (109) died 2-y-a (110)
Belinda Markham[No Appearance] New Jersey hooker; Paul Jackson chief suspect for her rape (18)
Doc Ronald Martin[One Appearance] served as medical examiner when Alan Stewart died // part-timer from Oklahoma; house in Rio Grande estates; retired heart surgeon; lives just upriver from Stewarts (102) Ronald; tall; late sixties; outfitted in waders and fishing vest (106) voice held the command of his profession; bushy eyebrows; commanding (107)
Virginia Martin[No Appearance] Doc Martin's wife (107)
Philip Merrick[Secondary Character] Madison's father; controlled large chunk of American economy; political connections to rival president (33) business tycoon (46) card-carrying member of America's industrial elite (56) not a man easily dissuaded; always attached strings to Madison (78) lived in penthouse on Central Park West (79) Cullen Pulaski's best friend (86) same gray eyes as Madison (171) not the jealous type; liked to maintain control (172)
Bertrice Patterson [One Appearance] interviewed by Gabe and Nigel // Candace Patterson's mother; about sixty; white hair fashionable cut, arranged with precision of military assault; suit reeked of money; diamonds around neck, in ears real (137) low, husky voice of smoker (138) indiscreet in her youth (139)
Candace Patterson[No Appearance] victim of apparent mugging; tied to accord (121) supposed to take Smith's place in negotiations; neither on the steering committee nor the board (126) fluent in eight Chinese dialects; studied abroad; worked 2 years as missionary; worked for Lexco when returned to U.S., first heading up their Asian division, then moved to corporate, recently promoted to VP, became involved in accord when Lexco decided to get on board (127) member of moneyed elite of Westchester County (137) had always done exactly what she pleased; brilliant; did not ask Lex's permission to do anything (149)
Harold Patterson[No Appearance] Bertrice's husband; not Candace's natural father (139)
Cullen Pulaski[pov] [Secondary Character] put together a task force to investigate the deaths of numerous members of ABC // Madison's godfather; not the kind of man who needed anyone's help (21) card-carrying member of nouveau riche who ran the country; renowned mathematician with nose for business; scored big during tech revolution; top of the industrial elite; outgoing; a politician's politician; preferred pulling strings from a distance; for the most part, what he wanted, he got (23) eyes sharp with intelligence (24) now the acting Chairman of the ABC (26) card-carry member of America's industrial elite (56) commanded respect (62) Philip Merrick's best friend (86) not particularly compassionate (111) cared deeply for the people in his life, he just wasn't good at showing it (112) 'snaps his fingers and people jump to do his bidding, no matter the cost' (146) doesn't do anything unless there in something in it for him (318) a wunderkind; whiz at mathematics; natural for computer (321) made first million before 30 (322)
Payton Reynolds[Secondary Character] [Book 2 / Enigma] Gabe asked him to work on investigative team // scarred (37) bit of a wild card; works for himself; mercenary (44) no patience, unless hunting someone; tenacious; seven languages; knew more guerilla warfare than possibly any man alive; uncanny knack for thinking ahead of the game; seeing inside someone's head, guessing the direction of his thoughts; jagged line starting at his brow and cutting diagonally down to his chin (49) kept his own counsel; loner; army; Delta Force; never been the same since Iraq, almost a year in recovery, disappeared, going underground (50) dark hair spilling around a pale face bisected by a jagged scar; green eyes (55) deep, almost inaudible voice; air about him that made a person want to listen (58) retreated to a corner, protecting his space (66) provided voice of reason (69) served in Delta Force under Gabriel; Army career ended with stay in hospital and myriad of awards (79) walking wounded, hid it well, but it was reflected in his eyes; went underground after hospital stay; sold himself to the highest bidder (80) morphed into his role with the ease of chameleon (103) self-contained without Gabe's self confidence; forced himself to keep the world at bay; despite the scar, he was the kind of man who could easily slip into the background; stealth was his commodity, but it had taken its toll; too many hours on his own, pretending to be something he wasn't showed in the lines of his face and the hollows under his eyes; dancing with darkness had a price that he had paid more than once; his smile made his craggy face suddenly handsome; had no problem with the chain of command (143) served in Delta Force under Gabe for 2 years (145) not exactly 'play by the rules' kind of guy (172) a top operative for the CIA (288) green eyes (326)
Lex Rymon[No Appearance] Candace's natural father (139) founded Lexco; not the sentimental type (140) run his company with iron fist for 50 years; big man; rough around the edges; wore a Canali suit; firm handshakes; calluses beneath hundred-dollar manicure; might be a billionaire, but he had blue-collar in his pedigree somewhere (147)
Ernhardt Wilhelm Schmidt[No Appearance] name of shooter that Harrison Blake tied to the name W. Smith // suspected bombings; crack shot; blond hair; blue eyes; aquiline nose of a German; hard features; his sheet a mile long; cruel twist of the lips; hard edges to smile; total lack of emotion in the eyes; man who'd ceased feeling anything a long time ago; something inside him programmed differently from others; a man without remorse or regret, driven by his own needs, interested in getting paid more than the pleasure of the kill (256) been on a watch list since early '80s; been tracked to the U.S. 15 times, spending most of his time at various places on the East Coast; keeps a low profile; generally uses an alias; has been linked to several plots against various political personalities; speculation that he may have taken part in U.S. sanctioned operations abroad; bulk of his activity has taken place in Europe (265) Interpol has him on a watch list; suspected involvement in 2 assassination attempts (266) a shadow, a lot threat, but worth watching (267)
Kingston Sinclair[Secondary Character] longtime associate of Madison's father; unbending tenacity in business (53) ex-marine attitude showed in work and physique; in top physical form; strength due to years of routine, rather than vanity; drank whiskey, straight (54) head of Radion Enterprises (55) card-carrying member of America's industrial elite (56) notorious for holding thoughts close to the vest (57) fiddled with earpiece of his glasses to buy time (64) barracuda (65) older than Philip Merrick by 10 years; part of Madison's life as long as she could remember (178)
Bingham "Bing" Smith[One Appearance] killed; pragmatic (13) Cullen Pulanski's friend (25) killed while on way to meet Chinese delegation; made Cullen look like chump change, notorious for leveraging takeovers of even the most unavailable companies; ABC member; headed team in trade deal with China; chairman of ABC (26) in excellent shape; worked out 3 times a week (58) worked in China for years; contacts crucial in establishing the foundation (6o)
Tiffany Smith[No Appearance] Bingham's fourth wife; not very bright; gold digger (59)
W. Smith[No Appearance] name of the man Harrison tied the computer sabotage to (154)
Alan Stewart[No Appearance] died; member of consortium (57) on the original steering committee in negotiations with China (60) fell, hit his head, landed in the bathtub; happened in remote part of Colorado, way up in the mountains (67) died in a remote mountain town in Colorado (96) a good man; gave a lot to the community; a part-time resident of Creede; when not in Creede, Colorado, made home in Austin, Texas; his body returned to Texas for burial (101) died almost two years ago (107)
Rick Wagner[No Appearance] nothing but a prick in gentlemen's clothing; married Madison for her father's money; "couldn't understand her need for autonomy . . . started a one-man campaign to undermine her confidence" (78) had taken Madison to cleaners, financially, emotionally; charm; good looks (134)
Loren Waxman[One Appearance] met with Madison // FBI regional direction in New York; short by FBI standards; nearing 60; moved with a grace that belied his age; gray hair; dark eyes sparkled with intelligence (259)
Connie Weston[No Appearance] Madison trying to find her murderer (17) vivacious fifth grader; disappeared on walk to corner grocery; found in abandoned warehouse 5 days later; raped, sodomized, beaten by pipe (17) 11-y-o (18)
Patrick Weston[One Appearance] met with Gabe and Madison when they came to town to investigate Alan Stewart's death // sheriff of Creede; eyes crinkled at the corners, from a lifetime spent laughing; big man; 40 to 45; career lawman; rugged look of outdoorsman (100) good man; don't rock the boat kind of guy (108)
Smith Williams[No Appearance] that name that Ernhardt Wilhelm Schmidt used to enter the country a couple of months ago on a business trip; hailed from London; worked for company called Houghton Limited (273)
Lin Yao[No Appearance] one of Payton's contacts // against accord going forward (144)

Locations, Organizations Found In "Endgame"
Location / Organization Description
New York CityBook Setting // where Cullen Pulaski's corporate headquarters were located (37)
ABCAmerican Business Consortium: formed in wake of 9/11; attempt at communication and cooperation among leading industrial bigwigs; provides a communication base and a set of standard operating procedures, should something or someone try to bring down American commerce (24) allows for increased leverage in the international market (25) working on a trade deal with China for almost 3 years; 50 member companies, headed by an 11-member board; Cullen now the acting Chairman (26)
Activitron ElectronicsJeremy Bosner's company (56)
AlamosaGabe and Madison had flown here on their way to Creede, Colorado (99)
Albanywhere Luther Macomb died in a car wreck (96)
Austin, TexasAlan Stewart made his home in Austin, Texas; his body returned to Texas for burial (101)
Battery Park Citylocation of hotel that Smith Williams checked into (273)
Behavioral Science UnitFBI; Walter Blythe was the director (21)
BeijingBingham Smith dealt with them (60) Payton had contacts in Beijing (95)
Blue Roomcatered to locals in Panama City; where Gabe meeting with Nigel (35)
Bluemaxcompany that brought suit against Vrycom (321) founded by Edward Clinton (337)
Braxton Labsowned by Tracy Braxton; building originally a meat-packing plant; state-of-the-art equipment; cutting-edge personnel; top private forensics labs in country (70)
Central Park Westwhere Philip Merrick had a penthouse (79)
Charlottesvillecity where W. Smith rented a box at Mail Smart; a college town (154)
Creede, Coloradotown Gabe and Madison went to in their efforts to investigate Alan Stewart's death; situated on a horseshoe bend in the highway, there wasn't much more than the main street, but the way that street settled into a majestic crag in the mountains went a long way toward explaining why summer homes had sprung up all along the valley (99) not the most hospitable of places in the dead of winter; without the draw of ski runs, most of the population clears out at the end of October; Alan Stewart a part-time resident (101)
Coloradowhere Alan Stewart died in a small, remote mountain town (96)
Connecticutwhere Anderson McGee lived (268)
Daily Newssplashed Candace Patterson's face across the front page (135)
Del NortePatrick Weston had been attending conference here when Alan Stewart died (101)
DreamscapeCullen Pulaski's company; permanent fixture on Fortune 500 (23)
Florida Keys Dinerseedy; decrepit; decorated with gator heads, formica and table jukeboxes in various stages of disrepair; and off fusion of swamp rat and Buddy Holly; where Gabe met his director (22)
GeorgetownVirginia; town in which Alicia and Jacob Dashal lived (103)
Houghton Limitedcompany that Smith Williams claimed to work for; doesn't exist, except on paper (273)
Investigative Support Unitteam of which Madison was a member (28)
La Pazflight attendant on plane Nigel was on was from La Paz (30)
Lands Endname of Martins' luxurious retreat (106)
Last Chance, ops group known as Logistical Command; called in when all else fails; used to call themselves Last Chance, Inc.; Gabe in command (133)
Lexcocompany that Lex Rymon founded; Candace Patterson worked for company (127) had corporate headquarters in three countries, but their chief financial operations remained in New York (147)
Logistical Commandblack ops group called in when all else fails; used to call themselves Last Chance, Inc.; Gabe in command (133)
Manhattanwhere Cullen Pulaski's offices were located (40) where Madison had an apartment (77)
Mariott barwhere Harrison and Madison were talking after computer system erased (92)
Molly Malonesas close to a British pub as one was likely to find this side of the pond; where Gabe, Payton and Nigel were drinking (182)
New Mexicowhere Alexis Harper lived in a sprawling home (79)
Nino'sMadison's favorite Italian restaurant, on First Avenue (171)
Oklahomawhere Doc Ronald Martin was from (102)
Panama Cityperpetually full of tourists; city where Gabe met with Nigel and Payton (35)
Phoenixa Texas company that specialized in computer forensics (41)
Radion EnterprisesKingston Sinclair's company (55)
Rio Grandeprime fishing water (99)
Rio Grande Estatesnear Creede, Colorado; where Doc Martin had a home (102)
Saudia ArabiaNigel had been on a mission in Saudia Arabia when he met Gabe (31)
Sutton Placewhere Jeremy's brownstone was located (187)
Virginiawhere Jacob Dashal had family (96)
Vrycomacquisitions company in the 80s; existed only on paper; sole purpose was leveraged buyouts (320)
Westchester Countywhere the moneyed elite lived, including Candace Patterson's family (137)

"Endgame" Quotations
47"Was it my imagination or did he have a bit of a God complex?"
"I think maybe you're overstating things just a bit."   Harrison laughed, leaning back against the conference table.
"Not at all.   The man practically dragged me back to the cave by my hair."
"Well, I'll have to agree with the cave part.   But if your reaction is anything to judge by, I'd say he'd have gotten you there without damaging your do."   (Harrison and Madison)
47you've got to admit that Roarke has your number.   He hit nine out of ten buttons and has reduced you to shrieking."   (Harrison)
51"Just stating her name sent electricity coursing through him -- the woman had definitely made an impression . . ."   (Gabe)
94"righteousness is in the eye of the beholder."   (Gabe)
134"Some things children had to learn for themselves.   No matter the consequences."   (Cullen)
146"What seems reasonable from one point of view often seems less so when viewed from the opponent's side."   (Payton)
156"To keep me in line?"   He took a step toward her, but she held her ground.   "Honey, there's not a woman alive who can do that."   (Gabe)
175"The most important person you have to please in life is yourself.   And if your father can't live with the choices you make, then so be it.   You can't spend your life trying to gain his approval -- or trying to shock him into paying attention.   Either way you lose, because you're not living for yourself.   You're living for him."   (Gabe)
183"Gabe could no more explain his anger than he could explain his attraction for the woman, but at the moment both were undeniable."   (Gabe)
209"the one thing she was certain of in this life was the fact that you had to stay strong, no matter the obstacles."   (Madison)
210"Something about her called to him in a way he couldn't explain."   (Gabe)
216"Maybe if she'd spent more time accepting what she did have rather than trying to change what she couldn't . . ."   (Madison)
216"Everyone makes their own hell."   (Gabe)
216"There are people who can't escape.   Who only compound the problem, making it worse."   . . .   "And there are others who wallow in it.   Taking pleasure from their own pain.   So, yes, I guess I think the winners are the ones who find a way out."   (Madison)
217"There is always hope."   . . .   "I really do believe that.   I think sometimes you have to search for it.   And that it doesn't always present itself in the way you'd like.   But I do believe that it's always there."   (Madison)
222"Guilt was an insidious thing, whittling its way deep inside you twisting around your gut until it was almost inextricable."   (Gabe)
227"It's almost as if you're alone in a room full of people."   (Gabe)
250He followed after her, knowing full well that three pairs of eyes were still locked on them.   Eyes that were trained to see even the smallest detail.   To find truth in lies, and reality buried beneath subterfuge.
In short, he was toast.   (Gabe)
286"Madison marveled at the fact that these men could have any relationship at all."   (Madison)

"Dee Davis -- Endgame" Review and Information Links
Rated Posted Site Notes, Comments, Etc.
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4.26 average{107 ratings}Amazonas of: February 27, 2015
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5.0003-xx-2005Fallen Angel Reviews--Jaymi // too pat, question validity
--05-16-2005Fresh Fiction--Morgan Chilson // brief synopsis and review
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4.0007-09-2014Redhead Reading Addict--Morgan Dungan // {category ratings, simple review, nice quotes}{gr11}
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3.67 average{3 reviews}Shelfarias of: February 27, 2015
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