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posted: 7/16/2012 7:21 PM

Three mysteries for summer reading

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  • "The Last Minute" by Jeff Abbott

    "The Last Minute" by Jeff Abbott

  • "Discretion" by Allison Leotta

    "Discretion" by Allison Leotta

  • "The Last Refuge" by Ben Coes

    "The Last Refuge" by Ben Coes

Associated Press

"The Last Minute" by Jeff Abbott

Grand Central Publishing, 480 pages, $24.99

What would you do to save your son?

Sam Capra experienced betrayal and loss in Jeff Abbott's "Adrenaline." In Abbott's new thriller, "The Last Minute," Capra's wife is in a coma and he is desperate to find his infant son. An ex-CIA agent, Capra has the skills and resources for the search.

The kidnappers are part of a cartel called the Novem Soles (Nine Suns), and they have their hands in law enforcement and government agencies around the world. They even have allies in the CIA.

Capra is also confronted with a moral dilemma: The ransom demand isn't for money, but for the execution of an innocent person. Deliver proof of this man's death and Capra can have his son back. He cannot count on his former allies for assistance, and his new boss is in hiding with a price on her head. It doesn't matter why the Novem Soles want this man dead. All that matters to Capra is the opportunity to get his son back.

Abbott is one of the best thriller writers in the business, and he delivers action and complex characters in an explosive cocktail. The next Capra novel cannot come fast enough.

"Discretion" by Allison Leotta

Touchstone, 336 pages, $25

Sex and politics collide in "Discretion," an intriguing new thriller from Allison Leotta.

A high-priced escort arrives at the U.S. Capitol for a rendezvous with one of her regular clients, a long-term Congressman. A short time later, she falls to her death from the balcony.

Anna Curtis works for the U.S. attorneys office and Jack Bailey, the chief homicide prosecutor, is her boyfriend, though their colleagues are kept in the dark about their relationship. Their joint investigation quickly hits a wall. Congressional attorneys are afraid of legislative secrets leaking, and other clients of the escort service don't want their activities revealed to their spouses.

Leotta, a federal former prosecutor, writes with authority and authenticity. Imagine one of the best episodes of the TV series "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit," but set in Washington, D.C., instead of New York City.

Besides the realistic feel of the courtroom machinations, Leotta also takes readers on a journey inside the elite of Washington and the world of escort services. How can such an obvious prostitution enterprise operate immune from the law?

Curtis and Bailey find their relationship tested as people in power will use everything and everyone at their disposal to keep their private lives a secret.

"The Last Refuge: A Dewey Andreas Novel" by Ben Coes

St. Martin's Press, 416 pages, $25.99

Ben Coes has created a hero who ranks with the protagonists in a Vince Flynn or Brad Thor thriller.

Dewey Andreas is a former SEAL who was forced out of active duty. When his life was in peril, a team of Israeli commandos led by Kohl Meir saved him. When Meir uncovers irrefutable evidence that Iran has developed a nuclear device and plans to detonate it in Tel Aviv, he goes to Dewey for help.

Dewey and Kohl develop a plan to sneak into Iran and destroy its nuclear facility. An officer high up in the Iranian government learns of the plan and captures Kohl. Dewey must rescue his friend -- and save the world.

"The Last Refuge" is a winner, and it will keep readers turning the pages.

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