In the fourth Maureen Coughlin book by New Orleans transplant Loehfelm, Coughlin is both licking her wounds from the events of Doing the Devil's Work (2015) and learning to “believe”—a word which represents hope for a city that’s disaster prone.
A quick catch-up: a militia group, the Sovereign Citizens, has come to New Orleans to raise a little hell. In Devil's Work, Coughlin shut them down and shed light on the doings of some dirty cops in the process. The militia shot up her apartment so thoroughly that there are still bullet holes in the headboard of her bed. As the new book begins, the department is investigating Coughlin. She's on suspension, and she's not taking her punishment lightly, but as an obsessive fueled by pure rage, she begins following men she thinks are potential rapists out of bars and beating them up before they can do any harm to the women who'd found them threatening. She’s also still obsessed with the characters from the Sovereign Citizens—Madison Leary, a street person connected to the militia; the Heath family, who are certainly funding their activities; and Clayton Gage, their major strategist. Once Coughlin is reinstated, all hell really does break loose, in a frighteningly vivid and realistic domestic terror attack directed at the NOPD.
What’s most admirable about the series and elevates it over the average procedural is the nuanced evolution of a former Staten Island bartender into a New Orleans street cop.