Merchants of Death

A Kate Dawson Thriller
Narrated by: Geoffrey Boyes
Length: 11 hrs
4.9 out of 5 stars (21 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

When a BART subway car arrives at its destination, with 24 passengers all dead, Inspector Kate Dawson, a homicide detective with the San Francisco police department, must find out what killed them and who is responsible for their deaths. Her investigation takes her from the treacherous back streets of Chinatown to a luxurious chateau nestled in the Northern California hills, and from a lavish horse race track to a perilous underground lair. She is pitted against a young rival who covets her job, a twisted but wealthy brother and sister duo who deal in illegal arms and drugs, and a deadly group of U.S. army deserters, known as Task Force Red.

The story twists and turns its way through the streets of San Francisco to a thrilling climax aboard a runaway train loaded with a deadly toxin headed to game number one of the world series, where the president of the United States is scheduled to throw the first pitch.

Can she stop the train in time to save the president's life and prevent the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens?

©2018 W&B Publishers (P)2019 John L. Flynn

What listeners say about Merchants of Death

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WOW! That is a great story! Brilliant writer!

I listened Merchants of Death by John L. Flynn in one breath. I love the book! From the chilling opening, in which a Bart subway car reaches its destination with everyone on board dead, to the twists as the thrilling plot unfolds, this book grabbed me, held me tight, and never let me to stop listening. It has edge-of-your seat action, blood-curdling suspense, intensely-real characters, and a blockbuster storyline that you’d expect to see playing at the local Cineplex but is actually an audio book. Geoffrey Boyes lends his excellent narrative skills in relaying the events of the story and breathing life into Kate Dawson and her unique ensemble of supporting players. The book is not only immensely fun but also thoroughly researched with details that make every scene pop and sparkle with realism. Flynn’s writing style is absolutely top notch. I can’t wait to listening to other audio books in his Kate Dawson thriller series! Apparently, each book tells a separate story, and you don’t have to listen to the books in any particular order to enjoy the amazing adventures of SFPD Homicide Detective Kate Dawson. I took this audio book with me on my long trip, and I watched the miles fly by as I was whisked away on an incredible thrill-ride. I highly recommend this book to everyone!

7 people found this helpful

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Strong Female Lead! Thrilling Story!

First, let me say that I love stories that feature strong female characters! But lately, so many of them seem like cardboard cut-outs of Wonder Woman or Ms. Marvel or a male character masquerading under a woman's name. So, when a member of my book club recommended Merchants of Death, I was naturally skeptical. Particularly with a man's name attached as author. What on earth could a male writer possibly know about a woman's wants and needs, much less the inner workings of her mind. Please! Well, I was wrong. Flynn's Kate Dawson is a strong female lead! A homicide detective with the SFPD, Dawson was an incredibly well-written and complex character! At times, she is tough-as-nails, then others she's vain and petty, particularly donning designer knock-offs to impress the men around her, and then others she is sexy and seductive as sin. In the course of the novel, she deals with a boss's sexual harassment in clever, unexpected way I never saw coming; then in the next scene, she squares off against a younger, prettier rival like an alley cat with claws out. She's petty, selfish, vain, brave, emotionally-wracked (about a decision to have another baby), scared, and every bit a woman living on the edge. The only skepticism now is about the identity of the author. Back in the day, when women didn't write mysteries, some of the greatest of mystery writers took on male names. I think the author is actually a woman, writing under a man's name because there's just no way a man could know that much about a woman's behavior, and with all due respects, a woman's mind. I plan on reading/listening to the other Kate Dawson's mysteries. She is very clearly someone a woman can easily relate to. I loved this audio book. What a thrilling story!

5 people found this helpful

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Thoroughly entertaining! Couldn't stop listening!

I enjoy listening to audio books in my car on days when I've got a lot of household chores to run. On Thursday, after sampling a couple of new books, I decided to give Merchants of Death by John L. Flynn a try. After stops at the bank, my local drive-up pharmacy, church, and thrift store, I was totally hooked by the riveting story. I didn't even mind sitting in my car to let a sudden rainstorm pass, while Geoffrey Boyes skillfully described a suspense-filled race against time to stop a runaway train, filled with a deadly toxin, from killing thousands at a baseball game. The writing was crisp, characters interesting, and plot thoroughly entertaining. I just couldn't stop listening. I had never "read" a book by Flynn before, but believe you me, I will be on the lookout for his other Kate Dawson thrillers on audio books in the future. What a great way to spend a day filled with chores!

5 people found this helpful

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Powerful Story! Outstanding Characters!

Merchants of Death was one of the most powerful thrillers I have ever listened to on audio books. I started listening to the book on the way to work Monday morning, and the shocking death of a policeman as well as the "unexplained" deaths of 24 passengers on board a Bart train in San Francisco gave me pause when I was supposed to be heading into work for the weekly Monday morning meeting. By Wednesday, I found myself taking breaks throughout the day, so that I could sit in my car and listen to the next chapters of the story. By Friday, I sat in my car after work, and just listened as Kate Dawsonand her cohorts stormed a train filled with a deadly toxin to stop it from killing thousands (including the President) at a World Series game. The plot from beginning to end was simply riveting, and I'm sure that I wasn't the only person sitting in his car, avidly listening as the story unfolded. I've listened to several other novels written by Author John Flynn, including two other books in the Kate Dawson thrillers, and I'm convinced that he is one of the best storytellers writing today. His characters are always interesting and reflect real-life figures that you might know. Kate Dawson, Flynn's female homicide detective, is slowing down with age and the normal wear and tear of life when she finds herself confronted with a younger rival who wants to take her job. Dawson is also dealing with issues related to wanting a child but knowing she has only a few years left to give birth to one. She is also being harassed as a woman by the mostly male-department, and becomes a member of the me-too movement when a superior demands sex from her. Suffice it to say, she struggles with a great deal, but still manages to stay on the track of killers with a brand new nerve gas. The other characters in her orbit also experience similar changes, not the least of which is her annoying neighbor Lenny. His story appears to have reached an end of sorts, and is not likely to pop up in future novels. I cannot really say much more without giving away key plot points. I will simply close by suggesting you forego listening to this tale until you're ready to listen from beginning to end. Or you'll share my experience of sitting in my car moments before work to find out what happens next. A powerful story, with outstanding characters.

4 people found this helpful

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Thrilling Series! Kate Dawson is Great Character!

This is my third review of a Kate Dawson thriller, having left two other previous reviews for Intimate Bondage and Architects of Armageddon. I absolutely love this series! Kate Dawson is such an interesting, well-developed character. She starts out as a rookie of sorts in the first book, Intimate Bondage, and suffers through Architects of Armageddon as a shell-shocked veteran. In Merchants of Death, she is a seasoned member of the Homicide Bureau who now mentors others. One of the complaints that I have with books in a series is that the characters do not change or grow from book to book. Just look at the James Bond or Jason Bourne series; the lead character is the same from book to book. In John Flynn's masterful series, Kate does change and grow as the books develop. That's what makes her a three-dimensional figure, very real. I love the fact that she has now - in Merchants of Death - become a mentor, the same way that she was mentored in the first book. She is now mentoring a young rival who reminds Kate of herself. She is also struggling with real-world concerns that a real woman would be struggling with...changing roles, her career, wanting a baby, her relationship with a man... Author Flynn is spot on here, but that's only a really minor point to the story when you consider Jihadists have killed 24 people aboard a commuter train, and are threatening to take their terrorism much, much further. The story works on multiple levels, like the other books in the series, and develops at a breakneck speed. I love this series, and can't wait for other books in Flynn's series to be made into audio books. He is the new master of suspense.

4 people found this helpful

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You’ll be captivated! Love the book!

Please don’t press “play” on your audio player unless you are ready to spend the rest of the night captivated by the interesting characters and complex plot of Merchants of Death. Those of you who are familiar with any of John Flynn’s previous thrillers, then you already know that this book is going to be a real “I can’t stop listening!” non-stop, thrill ride. The rest of you are in for a real treat! Within the first few lines of this new audio book, a patrol cop is murdered by Islamic terrorists and 24 passengers on board a Bart subway car arrive at their final destination all dead. And that’s just the prologue! Kate Dawson, a homicide detective with the San Francisco Police Department, reports to the scene of the crime, and quickly finds herself neck-deep in an investigation that involves two rival terrorist cells, illegal arms dealers, and a group of army deserters who stole a fortune in diamonds from an Afghan warlord. In addition to the plot, one thing I particularly like about this book is the many strong female characters, not just Kate but also a younger rival who covets her job and a deadly, femme fatales who stabbed Kate’s friend Lenny. While this book is jam-packed with plenty of action and intrigue, I know that both Flynn’s fans and those who are new to his writing will very much enjoy it. Just remember that I did warn you about pressing “play.”

4 people found this helpful

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I Love this Audio Book!

I absolutely love Flynn's Kate Dawson thrillers. With every book, starting as far away back as Intimate Bondage (in 2014), the series just keeps getting better and better. The characters are amazing, and I love how they seem to have lives of their own beyond the scope of each story. They're like family, and you look forward to learning about them. Minor characters who were introduced in previous books take center stage in Merchants of Death and seem to carry the plot forward. Of course, there's no denying that Kate is the star of the show; she undergoes a lot of changes, too, not the least of which is a deepening of her relationship with Colonel Shears but also fending off a rival detective who wants to replace her. Also, if you are a fan of Lenny's - the story's comic relief - you are going to be totally surprised where the plot takes him. Keep up the good work, John. You are truly an amazing author.

4 people found this helpful

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Eagerly Awaited! First-rate Entertainment!

I am a fan of the Kate Dawson thrillers! I have been eagerly awaiting this audio book since the author tweeted about his detective series being made into audio books. I had read the print book earlier in the year, and loved it. So, when the audio book came out, I cleared my calendar and listened with glee. This is first-rate entertainment! Boyes as the narrator makes the story come alive, like a big-screen production, with his clever take on each of the off-beat characters. Now, if only some big-time Hollywood producer would take notice, this would make an excellent series of films! I can imagine Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role as Kate Dawson. Forget the James Bond series! This woman detective would easily make you forget 007, and have you subscribing to each audio book!

4 people found this helpful

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Exceptional! Five Stars!

I have read each of the Kate Dawson thrillers, and loved all of them. No one weaves a better mystery than John Flynn. So, when the latest one became an audio book, I was curious how it would hold up. I am happy to report Merchants of Death, as narrated by Geoffrey Boyes, is exceptional. Boyes manages to bring each of the characters to life with his narrative skills. I loved listening to the book almost as much as I did reading it. Five stars for an exceptional audio book.

4 people found this helpful

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A Really Exciting Plot! Amazing Characters!

Most thrillers these days, especially those proliferating as audio books, feature a cookie-cutter plot recycled from Ian Fleming or Earl Stanley Gardener, your typical stalwart hero, his plucky girlfriend, a dastardly villain, and a handful of bland, secondary characters who appear to have stepped out of central casting. So, therefore, you can imagine my pleasant surprise when I started listening to Merchants of Death by John L. Flynn to discover the hero was a woman. But not just any woman. One who is flawed, vain, label-obsessed, and a bit ruthless; she actually turns an unwarranted sexual advance from her superior into real opportunity for advancement, rather than become yet another statistic for the “Me-too” movement. Kate Dawson is clearly no wall-flower. She is a tough-as-nails homicide detective who gives as good as she gets. When threatened by a younger rival, she puts her in her place, and proves she is more than ready to take over the “boys-only” homicide bureau. When paired with her army-intelligence boyfriend, she’s not about to be left behind of a dangerous mission; she’s on his team! The villains in the story are a brother-sister duo who views incest as a virtue and a group of Army deserters who have forsaken their allegiance to God and County to turn a profit. Kate’s fellow detectives and friends are a quirky bunch of misfits and miscreants, the saddest of all being a nerdy scientist who falls for a femme fatales. Narrator Boyes does an excellent job of bringing this totally original story to life. A really exciting plot, populated by amazing characters. I highly recommend this book!

4 people found this helpful