The Striker

Written by Clive Cussler Justin Scott
Review by Cindy Vallar

Early in his detective career, Isaac Bell goes undercover to stop radical pro-union miners from sabotaging coal production. After a horrific accident kills several boys and nearly costs Isaac his life, Jim Higgins is arrested. He may be a union organizer, but Isaac believes a provocateur with other motivations caused the accident. When someone outside the jail incites the gathered miners into a mob bent on lynching Jim, Isaac’s suspicions are confirmed, and he helps Jim and his sister, Mary, to escape.

Isaac returns to New York to pitch his theory to his boss, Mr. Van Dorn. Although not quite convinced, Van Dorn provides him with a few men to assist in the investigation. Then Mary hires the detective agency to protect her brother, who’s organizing the miners to strike in Pittsburgh, while she sets in motion a dangerous plan to force the owners to capitulate to the miners’ demands. Although Isaac slowly collects sufficient evidence to prove his theory, the provocateur is as slippery as an eel. But time is slowly running out for Isaac, Jim, and the miners. The provocateur, who seems to know ahead of time every move the Van Dorn agents make, has manipulated Mary to his own purposes, which could erupt into a deadlier conflagration than any of the previous labor strikes.

From New York to West Virginia to Pittsburgh, The Striker is set during the turbulent first decade of the 20th century, when workers begin to strike and the industrialists use violence and scab workers to protect their investments. The authors vividly capture the time and the unrest, while crafting three-dimensional characters that consummately portray the various viewpoints on the issues. Whether careening down a mineshaft or aboard a churning, bomb-laden steamboat on the Monongahela, this thriller keeps readers enthralled from start to finish.