DEAD LINE by Brian McGrory


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A storied real-life crime leaps out of yesterday’s headlines to throw Boston Record reporter Jack Flynn (The Nominee, 2002, etc.) and those around him into danger.

Thirteen years after thieves looted the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and made off with 11 paintings valued at $30 million (all a matter of historical record so far), government lawyer Hilary Kane, whose fiancé’s pat infidelity has already ruined her day, emerges from an impromptu tryst with Mayor Daniel Harkins with more than a glow. Files she’s accidentally discovered on Harkins’s computer link his son Toby, a notorious mobster, to the heist and to His Honor, who continues to maintain for the record that he hasn’t seen his son in ten years. When Jack, acting on a tip from a shadowy yet famous FBI agent who’s somehow come into possession of the secret, publishes an article that connects the dots, somebody exes out Hilary in record time. Overcome with remorse—perhaps intensified because his main squeeze, New York Times reporter Elizabeth Riggs, has just announced both her pregnancy and her departure from his life—Jack vows to get the whole story, even though (a) his best lead, Hilary’s grief-stricken sister Maggie, wants nothing to do with him, and (b) the whole story is pretty obvious already. Fortified by his heroic determination, Jack steps out of his Clark Kent job into a hyperspace most closely associated with James Bond, rich in pointless side trips to the Eternal City and the City of Light and with dead lovelies replaced like soiled dinner plates by spare lovelies, all adorned with similes as well-worn, as Jack might say, as Dean Martin’s taste for whiskey. It’s all as predictably overscaled, and as synthetically exciting, as a summer movie.

Readers surviving the gratuitously glam thrills may well agree with Jack’s demurral: “Not that this has anything to do with the price of Spam in Kuwait.”

Pub Date: Jan. 2nd, 2004
ISBN: 0-7434-6366-8
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Atria
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2003


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