The Florida Bar

Florida Bar Journal

Ghost Guns: A Matt O’Malley Thriller

Book Reviews

by Thomas G. Kane

Cover image of Ghost GunsPeople are succumbing to a mysterious illness around Orlando’s Lake Eola, while state, local, and federal officials do everything they can to prevent the public from learning the truth behind the deaths. Kaitlyn Clancy is being held hostage, and a ruthless arms merchant known as The Hawk is hunting Matt O’Malley.

These are just some of the electrifying story lines running through the latest book in the Matt O’Malley thriller series, Ghost Guns. Thomas G. Kane, an Orlando attorney and Florida Bar member, conjures up a thrilling tale that has the protagonist struggling to learn the identity of The Hawk and trying to prevent him from deploying a new chemical weapon of mass destruction — a poison so powerful that a few drops in a body of water will render the water highly toxic for years. Lake Eola is a test case, and the results are devastating.

The fast-paced action in this highly entertaining novel forces the reader to explore the danger terrorists pose to soft targets such as water supplies. But, like all of Mr. Kane’s novels, Ghost Guns also explores larger issues of social import.

In his first book in the Matt O’Malley series, Desperate Hours, Mr. Kane wrote about the danger of the lone wolf terrorist in large public gatherings. In Desperate Hours, the antagonists attempt to blow up a tour boat with a presidential candidate aboard along with hundreds of dignitaries during a Fourth of July fireworks show.

Human trafficking by the Russian mafia was the underlying theme of Desperate Days, a novel that has O’Malley racing around the Adirondack State Park during four harrowing days, attempting to locate and save the daughter of a friend from being smuggled out of the country.

Kateri’s Treasure weaves together the stories of the bateaux (war boats) sunk during the French and Indian Wars in Lake George, and legends surrounding St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the “Lily of the Mohawks.” Kane blends the two with a modern-day story of a rogue MI-5 agent on a murderous spree as he searches for treasure in Lake George. The author uses this story to raise questions about what actually is of value in our lives, what constitutes true treasure, and the importance of natural environments.

The author had an active trial practice for 25 years and those experiences creep into his books. The stories are driven by dialogue that fills out the characters, making them real and identifiable. He explores, and gives voice to, the thoughts of the antagonist as well as the protagonists. He has an excellent ear for how people speak to one another, and he gives life, humor, and pathos to his characters. Even the villains are given an opportunity to vent their grievances, whether real or imagined. They get to present them, and the reader is able to decide whether they are valid or not.

Molly Kacheris graduated from the Florida State University College of Law and is a member of the Florida, D.C., and Virginia bars. She currently practices in McLean, Virginia.