Killer Nashville Book of the Day
Dig Two Graves by Kim Powers
Reviewed by G. Robert Frazier
Ethan Holt’s greatest accomplishment, winning the decathlon at the Olympics in his 20s, also proves to be his greatest undoing in Kim Powers’ thrilling, suspense-filled debut novel, Dig Two Graves (Tyrus Books).
Nicknamed “Hercules” for pulling off the heroic task of being an Olympian, Ethan’s success on the field translates into a coveted teaching position at his ivy-school alma mater, where he’d just as soon as forget about the Olympics and get on with his life. His biggest challenge is simply relating to his teenage daughter, Skip, whose rebellious attitude tests him in more ways than any pole vault or long-distance jump ever could.
When Skip is kidnapped, Ethan realizes she is the most important thing in his life and he will do anything to get her back. To do so, however, means Ethan will have to push himself to his athletic, and academic, limits as he must solve a series of increasingly cryptic riddles and tasks at the behest of the kidnapper.
Each test is a modern-day version of one of the Twelve Labors of Hercules, as the perpetrator uses Ethan’s past Olympic accomplishments against him. The tasks grow increasingly more difficult and the stakes exceedingly higher as the novel progresses, keeping both Ethan on his toes and readers on the edge of their seat at all times.
Complicating things is the fact the kidnapper knows seemingly everything about him, including a long-buried scandal surrounding Ethan’s Olympic games. And unlike the stories of Hercules, the kidnapper’s desire for revenge against Ethan is all too real.
Powers alternates the action between Ethan’s point of view and that of his daughter, who strives to gain her freedom against her unseen kidnapper. As a result, readers are easily able to sympathize with Ethan over the loss of his daughter as well as experience Skip’s terror firsthand.
Powers is the senior writer for ABC’s 20/20 and the series What Would You Do?, as well as numerous primetime specials with Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters, Robin Roberts and Katie Couric. He has won both Emmy and Peabody Awards for his 9/11 reporting for Good Morning America. He previously wrote a pair of nonfiction books in Capote in Kansas and The History of Swimming.
G. Robert Frazier is a writer and avid reader living in La Vergne, Tenn. He reads for the Nashville Film Festival and Austin Film Festival screenwriting competitions and is an active member of the Tennessee Screenwriters Association, Nashville Writers Meetup groups, and La Vergne Library Board. Follow him on Twitter @grfrazier23, and visit his Adventures in Writing blog at https://grfrazier.wordpress.com.
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