Captured by David Callinan is a 71-page short story that sells for USD 2.99 on Amazon. I managed to get the short story for free through a combination of book giveaways. The story is interesting in its niche but because of typo errors, not grammar errors, I would not pay to read it. For readers who like to read of superheroes, fantasy, and amazing coincidences, this will be a good read. I found it too formula driven and extremely predictable.
The characters do not have superpowers. It just happens that Rhonda Mateo is such a world class IT expert in security systems and encryption that members of all other IT agencies, government and private, recognize her work. When she agrees to go to work for Timeline, a company led by Erasmus Ryker, Rhonda found the company was developing a unique data capturing system that would allow Ryker to siphon money from governments, banks, and rich people in general. Being the moral person she was, and also because she was working for the government as an undercover agent, she copied relevant data files which she intended to deliver to her bosses. But the evil Ryker discovered her theft and had her followed by a couple of bad guys plus one huge bone-breaker individual named Mammoth. Rhonda was on the run. Resigned to the near inevitability of capture, she had to find a hiding place for the USB containing stolen data.
Luckily, she spotted a fit looking handsome individual about to enter a shop. Approaching him, she took a photo with her handphone (distraction) while slipping the memory stick into his pocket. She then continued running but was captured by Ryker’s minions which included the evil Mammoth.
Again luckily, the innocent bystander Rhonda had chosen was Mike Delaney, a former cop, former military, present-day devotee of martial arts, and an aspiring monk. His nickname on an amateur investigator website was The Monk. Mike avoided the police as much as possible despite having been a cop in an earlier career. He felt he could solve his own problems through meditation, focus, and unbelievable fighting skills. The attentive reader will learn a lot about pressure points in this story.
So we have a world-class encryption secret agent who meets a world-class mercenary type. Both have the necessary moral compass settings to fight for truth, justice, and the American way. I digress, that was Superman. He has long gone, subsumed into the great number of other superheroes. And the American way is struggling in a swamp so this short story might be reflecting values we wish to have. The forces of Good must defeat the evil, but slick and perversely talented Erasmus Ryker.
This is a pleasant, short, comfort read. Its predictability and typos lead me to give it three stars. It is written to such an obvious formula that I will not read more from this author.