Tap Rack Bang by Robert Blake Whitehill.
In the third mission of the Ben Blackshaw series, Tap Rack Bang, author Robert Blake Whitehill refocuses the global settings of Blackshaw’s adventures in Nitro Express and zeroes in once again on the Chesapeake Bay region. While the setting has become less international, the book’s themes are anything but; Nitro Express fixed its sights on the ways in which media is used to manipulate people, and Tap Rack Bang incorporates another global modern-day plague into its narrative—human trafficking. When a Kenyan girl named Tally winds up at Blackshaw’s doorstep looking for her kidnapped sister, he is embroiled in a war with international slavers, along with his old nemesis Maynard Chalk.
Tap Rack Bang explores how developed nations address human trafficking. The leader of the ring, Joachim DePriest, exclusively kidnaps victims he is sure will not be missed by the authorities. The novel insinuates that corruption at the top allows such indiscriminate abuse of the underclasses to occur. Characters such as Secretary of Homeland Security Lily Morgan secretly fund DePriest’s operation because they revel in violence inflicted on others, particularly children. This element of Tap Rack Bang’s plot is particularly relevant in light of the recent child abuse scandal in the United Kingdom, where Operation Hydrant collared an astonishing 1,400 suspected pedophiles, including 200 politicians, musicians, athletes, and other public figures.
Like Blackshaw’s prior missions, Tap Rack Bang’s tie to real-world events gives its narrative a sense of urgency and immediacy that other thrillers might lack. Tap Rack Bang is critical of the way most nations address human trafficking. Blackshaw’s next mission, the soon-to-be released Geronimo Hotshot, set in the American Southwest, shifts the series’ thematic focus onto refugees and undocumented immigrants, promising yet another engrossing and provocative adventure, as only Robert Blake Whitehill could write it.
For more information about Robert Blake Whitehill, please visit his website at robertblakewhitehill.com.