By: Robert Raker

Throughout their relatively short history, human beings as a group have consistently had a need to wield power. From the Pandyan to the Roman Empire, the need to exert control over others has been a notable characteristic of human civilization. With this tendency also comes the inevitable abuse of power and the accompanying struggle and revolt against it. Corruption breeds corruption and the result is frequently complete chaos. In his novel, The Activist, author Robert Raker presents just such a scenario. A top-notch political thriller which will keep the reader holding their breath from start to finish!

Essentially, the story follows the investigation by Inspector General Tomi Martens. Bodies have been turning up in abandoned buildings, strategically placed and burned beyond recognition. The pure intensity of such barbarous cruelty is overwhelming, even for a seasoned investigator. As the case progresses, Martens begins to unravel a web of intrigue fraught with brutality and powerful political intelligence ties. Danger seems to lurk around each and every corner. The very case that he seeks to solve, may soon claim him as its next casualty.

Meanwhile, paralleling the ongoing investigation is the kidnapping and cruel interrogation of a young female activist by a mysterious masked man bent on revenge. The last standing member of a political activist group, her tortuous series of interviews provide the background to the depth of depravity and horror of the situation. In such an environment of revenge, greed and ultimate corruption, the frailty of human nature is about to be exposed in a thriller of epic proportions!

To say the plot of this novel is captivating would truly be an understatement. It veritably ensnared me as soon as I opened the book and kept me glued to the pages right until the very end. The author cleverly uses different points of view throughout the story to allow the reader to gain a true appreciation for the events. The action packed investigation as told by Martens, and the deeply disturbing and tortuous interrogation of the young female activist. It is all woven together into a complex web of intrigue which is interspersed to keep the reader truly engaged in both points of view as they inevitably combine to make the whole. Brilliant writing at its best! To add to this excitement, the tale could easily be appreciated as something which happens and occurs in present day. In fact, the level of research which Raker undertook to complete this novel is obvious and impressive… and it only adds more flavor and believability to a never ending ride!

While the plot of The Activist is thrilling, it is also backed up by characters who are both believable and memorable. From the grizzled and determined Inspector General, the obsessed villain- to the young activist who spends the majority of the book fastened to various chairs. They all play their roles remarkably well and add to the constant and relentless suspense of the novel. Except for Martens, something which I noticed the author rarely does in the story is actually mention the other main character by name. I would believe this is done on purpose to further mystify the plight of the captured political prisoner. Clever use of a literary device to put it mildly! Nevertheless, we learn a lot about the young activist as we see the progression of events to where she currently sits in a series of exciting and mind-bending flashbacks. We are thus able to empathize with her and desperately yearn for her escape.

One other thing which struck me in this novel was thee author’s appreciation for how the human psyche works. For instance, while the young activist is being tortured, she manages to transcend the moment and escape into her mind to better times with her intense love for a British Surgeon. The safety and security of love is juxtaposed with the barbarity and violation of the moment. Brilliant!

Without a doubt I would give this novel my highest recommendation. 5 out of 5 Intriguing stars for this one!