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A local author's entertaining debut novel

The Eagle's Talon, the freshman debut of local writer Jeff Totten, is an entertaining tale full of adventure and suspense centering around a secret treasure hidden by Hitler's special army, the SS, during WWII.  Recently rediscovered by an unnamed mafia organization, the search for this treasure begins with the death of an extremely wealthy banker that forces a retired CIA agent, Ian McCallister, from Colorado to travel to Germany in pursuit of his killer.  Eliciting the help of a former colleague and the murdered man's daughter, McCallister stumbles upon the story of this elusive treasure and finds himself fighting for more than he could have ever expected.

While a fast-paced and entertaining story, the vast array of characters and subplots can be confusing, if not a bit distracting to the overall plot line.  Not only is the reader introduced to characters of little consequence to the ultimate story, but also their histories that seemingly have even less relevance.  Totten gives so much focus to providing sufficient detail to the back stories of minor characters that important information about the main characters seems to have been forgotten.  So much so, that it becomes hard for the readers to determine which characters are important, which are inconsequential, and which actually provide vital information to the unraveling plot.

Just as there would appear to be too many personalities in this story, the plot lines are just as varying and hard to follow.  As McCallister tries to uncover the actual reason for this aristocratic man's death, he himself becomes confused by the numerous subplots of the people he encounters during his journey.  Though trying to provide the reader with ample information, Totten seems to get bogged down in subplot leaving the readers struggling to keep all of the details straight and trying to determine which are significant to the story he is outlining and which details are just interesting pieces of knowledge.

For all of the minor confusions and the assortment of characters, The Eagle's Talon is still an entertaining piece of genre fiction.  The reader will have no problem turning the page to find the next piece of the puzzle.  Totten provides gripping suspense and has left his introductory novel open-ended for an even more riveting and concise sequel.

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