In Thunderball: A Nikki Doyle Novel by Paula J. Longhurst, Nikki’s boyfriend goes missing and someone is working hard to make it look as though Gavin Lancaster is involved in the arms dealing operation he was investigating before his mysterious disappearance. Nikki can’t let that happen. Nikki is supposed to pick up Gavin at the airport. Accepting do a favor —“a very dirty term” where she grew up, meaning backhander, under-the-counter dealing, or bribe —she ends up finding herself in dire straits. Unbeknownst to her, the briefcase she carries is filled with planted classified files; other players including a psychiatrist and a spy are waiting in the shadows. Then there is the arrival of a coffin that causes a lot of confusion. Will Nikki find out what happened to Gavin and is she ready for the consequences when she starts digging for the truth?
Thunderball is another spellbinding entry in the Nikki Doyle mystery series and Longhurst continues to illustrate the same high-quality writing, clever plotting, and unusual finesse in characterization. This propulsive novel is filled with unsuspecting twists, from the moment that Nikki, who has worked for the lottery company Avalon for two years, accepts to carry a package to the airport where she is supposed to pick up Gavin. The author keeps readers guessing, and wondering what happens next and there is a strong motivation written into the sophisticated female protagonist. At times, Nikki appears naïve, but her naivety is balanced by her strong motivation; she is a character that can be impulsive at times, but unusually authentic. The convincing first-person narrative voice adds a deeper level of authenticity and an intimate feel to the characters, creating an immersive reading experience in this intelligently plotted and suspenseful mystery. You’ll find a strong, unforgettable heroine to root for in this novel.