An Outstanding Initiative
Phoenix Initiative, by Ivan Desabrais, starts dramatically when a beautiful woman in her twenties, wearing a long, grey coat to conceal her body armor, pulls a gun on an executive in the elevator of an office tower. When he pleads with her not to kill him, she says, "I should, you pig!"
This powerful woman is Lasalle, the protagonist, key player in a secret international organization which exists to eliminate evil exploiters of children.
Phoenix Initiative is a well-plotted action/adventure novel. In this genre, plot must be paramount, yet there is always the danger of characters being one-dimensional puppets, subservient to the story's twists and turns. This never happens in Desabrais' novel. His main characters are multi-faceted. In creating Lasalle, a realistic blend of intelligence, courage and vulnerability, he shows respect for, and admiration of women.
The short, well-signalled flashbacks to Lasalleas a teenager, with her rescuer/recruiter/mentor Caldwell, add considerable depth, and never slow the pace. The scenes of tension and violence are balanced by sensuous ones in which well-chosen words gleam like jewels.
Let's hope this remarkable first novel is the start of a series centring on the intriguing Lasalle.