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Comments And Reviews
"Enter a world few people know--the modern labyrinth that gave the word Byzantine its name. It's dark here, and the light ahead never shows for long."
Five Stars - Midwest Book Review
Less Than A Shadow is a suspenseful murder mystery by David Chacko. It begins with the murder of a prominent journalist in Istanbul and escalates into a drama involving the Turkish Mafia, a lethal hidden secret, and a terrible threat about to change the Middle East forever at a terrible blood price.
An exciting novel that combines action with a labyrinth of motives and deadly perpetrators, Less Than A Shadow is very highly recommended reading for mystery/suspense enthusiasts and documents David Chacko as a gifted author who pays particular attention to background detail and character development making both his stories and his characters come alive in the "mind's eye" imagination of the reader.
Midwest Book Review
Alfred Rydell, a noted American journalist, is murdered in his Istanbul apartment, thus causing a crisis in the Middle East.
At home Rydell’s wealthy family has political clout. They want answers to why he was murdered, and they aren't the only ones. The Turkish government wants answers as well as the American State Department. So two men from very different worlds and backgrounds come together for the common cause of finding the who, what, when and why of why someone would want the noted journalist dead.
Jason Enders, a "field agent" with the U.S. State Department, is dispatched to Istanbul, and Inspector Onur Levent has his orders from the Turkish government to find the killer quietly and quickly. Both men know time is running out while their enemies lurk in the shadows deadly and daring and just beyond their grasp.
What began as one murder turns into a large scale terrorist event that will cost Turkey and America more than foreign relations. The scope of the powers and corruption could destroy the whole middle eastern countries as we know them to be.
David Chacko weaves a tapestry of the Middle East into a tightly woven plot that leaves us with a sense of turbulence and terror that only the word terrorist can arise within ourselves.
Less Than a Shadow is an outstanding piece of fiction that has been turned into a political art form that is a classic, and Chacko’s view of this world is profound.
Murder and Mayhem Bookclub
Less Than a Shadow leads the reader through a maze of intrigue and characters that could hardly be better drawn. When the people and the puzzle finally fall into place, the real chase begins. Exciting and devastating!
Richard Walton, author of
Cold War and Counterrevolution
and The Remnants of Power
Less Than a Shadow is a great adventure! If you don't think that
espionage is back, you'll find out when this one grabs you by the
throat. You'll know the people and places of a fascinating land!
Erje Aydin, author of
Goldberg Pasha and
Crazy Green of Second
When a high-living journalist, Al Rydell, turns up dead in Turkey, Jason Ender is dispatched by the American State Dept. to investigate the murder. Ender learns that Rydell had travelled to Turkey to interview a mullah for his book. But when Ender searches Rydell's apartment, the manuscript is gone. Ender then begins a dangerous escapade of investigation by pulling a string in a Turkish tapestry of drugs, terrorists, and political intrigue.
Ender follows his leads from the list of informants, thugs and suspicious characters that made up Rydell's nefarious associations - and the other kind, including Rydell's beautiful, high-paid companion. His equally beautiful artist-sister, Veronica, becomes Ender's lover and partner in solving Al's murder as they travel a maze of misdirection and mayhem. At the end of the trail, Ender fingers Rydell's murderer. Should he turn the killer over to authorities or is there another means of poetic justice?
Less Than a Shadow is a classic, yet contemporary whodunit with a narrative so tight that it squeaks, dialogue so realistic you'll look around you to see who said what you just read, and a story line that will engage you from beginning to end. ***
K. Ann Barnett
(Change + to @)
Chacko Illuminates Turkish Shadow
Who better to write a book about political intrigue in the Middle East than a native McKeesporter?
That's exactly what happened in "Less Than a Shadow," the 10th novel by Tube City's own David Chacko.
Set against the backdrop of Turkey, the front-line of democracy in today's Middle East, "Shadow" is a political/espionage thriller along the lines of those written by John LeCarre.
Now a Florida resident who lives part of the year in Istanbul, Chacko has firsthand insight into the Turkish people and their interactions with people from the West.
The novel opens with the murder of a prominent American journalist, Alfred Rydell, at a seemingly harmless low-stakes poker game.
Police Inspector Onur Levent is charged with solving the crime, and when he discovers the dead man's identity, Levent knows the Americans will demand a quick resolution.
The U.S. State Department dispatches an envoy, Jason Ender, to assist Levent. Described as a "field reconnaissance agent," Ender is basically a spy. His mission is to figure out not only who killed Rydell, but why.
In an interesting twist, there's not much conflict between Levent and Ender as they set about their duties.
Far from the stereotypical "ugly American" abroad, Ender's character is respectful of his new partner and the Turkish culture. His fluency in the language also earns him points with those he encounters while unraveling the mystery.
The standard political thriller elements are here - a love interest for Ender (she's the sister of the deceased), several red herrings along the way and the need to save the world against tremendous odds.
And while Chacko breaks little new ground in "Less Than a Shadow," he's produced a novel that fits the genre nicely.
The shortcomings of the book are minimal.
There are perhaps a few too many characters, and with the abundance of unfamiliar Middle Eastern names it can be difficult to keep everybody straight.
Also, after doing a nice job establishing the premise, the climax of the novel - which involves finding a bomb - seems rushed.
Still, "Less Than a Shadow" is a fairly fast-paced and compelling read. Chacko has done his hometown proud.
By JEFFREY SISK, Daily News Managing Editor
©The Daily News 2004
David Chacko has set his tenth novel, Less Than a Shadow, against the backdrop of Turkey, the front line of democracy in today's volatile Middle East. He leads you into a world few people know--the modern labyrinth that gave the word Byzantine its name. It's dark here, and the light ahead never shows for long.
Chacko lives a part of each year in Istanbul. This experience, and a natural interest in people, puts him in a position to provide keen insights about the citizens of this land, the way they live, their hopes and their dreams. The reader feels as if he or she is actually living alongside them. Chacko's characters are strong, all set against the economic and political background we live within, but which few see as it really is.
Less Than a Shadow opens with the murder of a well-known journalist in his home in Istanbul. Upon the demands of the man's wealthy family, Jason Ender, a "field reconnaissance" agent for the U.S. State Department, is assigned to investigate. The path leads deep into the power structure of the Middle East that the United States is trying to shape. Shadowed by the specter of the Mafia, and violence that explodes apparently at random, Ender's investigation concludes on an autumn night when the entire city rocks to the beat of Armageddon.
Chacko uses more long narrative passages than most authors do. But they're beautifully written. And they carry the story forward quickly.
Less Than a Shadow will leave you pondering the fate of democracy in the Middle East, and a scary sense of the turbulence and terrorism which abounds. But it will also leave you with an upbeat image of the Turkish people, determined to win through at any cost.
"A terrorist thriller as hot as today's headlines."
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