7 Steps to Midnight
By Richard Matheson

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Rating:  Superb Thriller!
4 Stars

First Published: 1993
Forge Cover Design by Joe Curcio
Pages: 318 

Review © 2009 by Stephen Roof
Genre:  Thriller, Mystery, Spy



7 Steps to Midnight by Richard Matheson is an intelligent, high octane, espionage thriller.  The twist is that the hero is not a highly trained commando or government agent.  He’s a nerdy everyman with a PHD in mathematics who has no idea what he’s got himself into.  The more he learns, the more mysteries he discovers.   He quickly finds that life outside his cubicle is more exciting than he could have imagined but it’s also a lot more dangerous.  His worst fear at work used to be the possibility of getting a deep paper cut.  Now he finds real guns pointed at him. 

As a mild mannered but hard working government employee working in theoretical mathematics, Chris is unprepared when he returns home late one night to find that an imposter has stolen not only his identity, but also his car and house.  What’s worse, the CIA seems to be involved and they not only support the imposter, they appear to want the real Chris dead.  Chris is forced to run for his life while trying to prove to himself that he hasn’t lost his sanity.  He soon finds himself in the middle of a high stakes espionage game which clearly has to do with the top secret project he’s currently working on.  What the enemy doesn’t know is that Chris has run into a complete wall as far as his work goes.  He hasn’t made any progress in months and doesn’t know if there is any possible solution for this mathematical blockade.  However, it’s clear that finding a solution could affect the national security of nations around the world.   

I give this novel my highest recommendation for an intelligent, action packed thriller.  It gets off to a fast start and doesn’t let up through the whole novel.  The reader is along for a wild ride with Chris as he starts on the run in California and soon finds himself racing around Europe.  He meets dangerous killers, surprising benefactors, and a beautiful government agent who, thankfully, seems to be on his side.  For an edge of your seat experience where you won’t be able to turn the pages fast enough, get this book as soon as possible.