Maggie O’Dell is a FBI agent, who as the story opens, has been asked to speak at a conference on her specialty: forensics. But when she arrives in rural Nebraska, Maggie receives a call from her boss telling her to put the conference on hold a day to help local law enforcement. In many small midwestern towns cows often outnumber the people living there. This makes it difficult for these towns to afford their own forensic departments, so they must rely on state and federal resources for assistance. That said, Maggie finds it odd to be called on to investigate a cow mutilation. Even more unusual is the fact the carcass is completely drained of blood, with one eye missing and the poor animal’s legs raised towards the sky.
What is thought to be a government cover-up by the cattle ranchers, and part alien invasion by more creative residents, has Maggie stumped. And when local teenagers begin to die under mysterious circumstances Maggie decides to stay on to further her investigation, conference or no. Later, when the body of yet another teen is found she is so puzzled Maggie feels the need for a break. Running down a secluded country road Maggie turns to see an old truck pulling to a stop at the top a hill. It guns its’ motor. Within seconds Maggie is run down, electrocuted, and kidnapped.
Meanwhile, across the country a strange outbreak occurs in Norfolk, VA and moves through several schools, making elementary students violently ill. Maggie’s boyfriend, Colonel Benjamin Platt races the clock to discover just what is making the children sick, and hopefully discover an antidote.
How the author links these seemingly random events makes Hotwire an exciting read. Maggie O’Dell is a resourceful character with lots of experience from which to draw and being independent as well means she doesn’t depend on her boyfriend to rescue her from the kidnappers.
I enjoyed Hotwire. It was a fun, fast-paced novel, with enough science and real life scenarios to keep me guessing. While the epilogue didn’t pull all the events together as well as I would have liked, I was still satisfied with the results. I plan to read another Maggie O’Dell novel, just to see what happens next!
Reviewed by Leigh