Sabrina Brooks has the key components for a secret life as a vigilante at her disposal: a fortune inherited upon her father’s death, stewardship of his chemical company and a desire to serve and protect. In fact, had her father not passed away, she might have pursued a career in law enforcement. As matters stand, she wants to be more than figurehead at the Brooks Chemical Company, so she takes her academy training and martial skills and takes on the mantle of ‘Nightcrawler’.
In short, to satisfy dual passions, Bree tries to do it all, but what starts as a bit of a lark turns into a greater responsibility than she can handle. Bree is overwhelmed, but determined to succeed. When her partner at Brooks warns against the vigilantism, the danger to herself and the company’s reputation, she tries to give it up. But it’s not easy, particularly not when people she cares about are in danger.
John Reinhard Dizon lays out an ambitious story arc that touches on small, community issues, and the larger scope of how terrorism can affect a city. At 131 pages, however, the book lacks the depth required to really have the punch I expected. I liked Sabrina and I sympathised with her compassion and her struggle to be more. But I missed some key scenes. For instance, fleshing out the scene at the Statue of Liberty would have padded the page count as well as shown Sabrina in action. As a reader, I wanted to experience her excitement and tension and be party to her thoughts as she worked. Her thoughts as she risked life and limb and her reaction to seeing the terrorists face to face.
Not showing these scenes perhaps allowed Dizon to keep a lid on the romantic tension, but… I’d kinda have like to have seen that as well. What went through Sabrina’s mind when Hoyt showed up on the scene?
There is some discussion about whether what Bree is doing is right or wrong and about the danger of using untested chemical weapons in the field. Though a character ultimately drives a novel, I was glad to see this was included as it shows some conscience on the part of the author.
Quibbles aside, Nightcrawler is a great concept with a well-conceived plot. Dizon obviously enjoys writing thrillers, and it shows. He’s got all the key elements here, and they’re surrounded by sympathetic characters and a conclusion that satisfies.