His 10th case drives a deep wedge—make that several wedges—between former government research analyst Lewis Cole and his long-standing comrade in arms Felix Tinios.
The first barrier between Lewis and the shady “security consultant” who’s helped him in so many freelance quests for justice (Dark Victory, 2016, etc.) is prison bars. Felix has been arrested for shooting New Hampshire businessman/politico Fletcher Moore twice in the head, and Assistant Attorney General Deb Moran, rejoicing in a banquet of evidence that includes a record of Moore’s appointment with Felix, surveillance video that places him at the scene, and a murder weapon licensed to him and sporting his fingerprints, is looking for the death penalty. What makes Lewis feel even more helpless is that even though he comes to court every day to watch Hollis Spinelli, the hapless lawyer inexplicably defending Felix instead of Raymond Drake, his usual attorney, dig his client deeper into a hole, he can’t talk to Felix, who’s refused to add Lewis to his visitors list, or even to Hollis, who puts him off first with blather, then with a menacing thug. When Boston FBI agent Alan Krueger tells Lewis that he really ought to make some inquiries to help Felix, Lewis is inclined to agree, even though he’s lost the press credentials that would normally give him cover. Instead, he finds himself working on a bogus federal contract for a bogus magazine article, with alleged allies he can’t trust any further, evidently, than his old friend.
Though the plot eventually bogs down in details of civic malfeasance, nobody is better than DuBois at kicking his reluctant hero into action or at rooting every complication in something that feels disconcertingly like the normal rhythms of life outside the justice system.