Whoever’s stalking a beautiful archaeologist wants her dead, buried and long forgotten.
No question, archaeology professor Blue Ericksen has been walking the sunny side of the street lately. She likes her job teaching gratifyingly receptive students at Northwestern University. She likes the celebrity attendant on her new book: Goddess has earned popularity way beyond what was expected. And best of all, of course, there’s motherhood. Blue adores her little boy—11-month-old Adam. It’s adorable Adam, however, whose narrow escape signals the gathering of storm clouds. On the same day a “jaycrawling” Adam just misses being atomized by a semi, his dad, Blue’s ex-husband, proves less fortunate. Nor is there anything accidental about his death. While baby-sitting, Edward—“a really good father even though he’s a rotten husband”—falls victim to a singularly brutal home invasion. But was he, in fact, the intended victim? Soon enough it becomes clear that poor Edward had been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that it was Blue who was meant to die. But why? Could her recent work suggest an answer? Its focus has been on hallucinogens—the way they were used in ancient civilizations, and the stunning new way they might be used in ours: as an aid in the prevention of hard-drug addiction. Now who could hate the scientist whose efforts might lead to the end of so much human misery? Well, consider the shadowy figures behind the powerful, multinational, shrouded-in-mystery Leeuwarden Ltd. Their business is the drug trade. Follow the money.
The usually dependable D’Amato (Death of Thousand Cuts, 2004, etc.) misses with this one. It’s not that there aren’t good things here. It’s just that too often thriller loses to travelogue, which isn’t great for narrative drive.