Colorado private investigator Reece Culver, vacationing in Britain, looks into the case of an assassin targeting people linked to a London corporation in this thriller.
Reece and retired cop pal Haisley Averton are tourists in Scotland just for the trout fishing. But when they narrowly avoid getting in the path of a sniper’s bullet, Reece takes it personally and starts his own investigation. The assassin’s target was reporter Thomas Billington, who’d been writing an investigative piece on Karl Rhodes, chief of strategy at London’s Draecon International. The company has just amped up its security, suspecting that someone hacked Rhodes’ home and office computers. Reece finds his way to the home of Rhodes’ estranged wife, Marie—as well as her bed—while Haisley, scouring Billington’s laptop, discovers a possible connection between Draecon and experimental military aircraft. At the same time, Julian Cross, an assassin on retainer, works for a client with an apparent hit list. When it’s fairly obvious that Rhodes is Julian’s next target, Reece takes Rhodes, Marie, and Rhodes’ mistress, Candice, to hide out in Colorado. Julian tracks them to the United States, however, and goes gunning for the businessman—or maybe all four. The story culminates in a kidnapping, what may very well be an attempt to draw out Reece. The novel, a solid thriller, delivers an assassin pursuing targets everywhere from America to Anguilla in the Caribbean. There’s a bit of mystery, though it’s all but vanished before the story’s halfway point when Koepke (Damage, 2015, etc.) resolves the biggest conundrum—who hired Julian? Reece is a sufficient protagonist, a better action hero than detective. Nevertheless, he’s nearly surpassed by the far more engaging Julian, a nameless killer to most of the other characters. His sniping skills are exceptional even if he’s not the most efficient assassin, trying to shoot someone, for example, from a speeding ATV. It’s Julian’s seemingly mundane behavior that turns him into an everyday man; it’s fascinating when he checks the sights of his Sig Sauer in his apartment while lasagna bakes in the oven.
This recurring gumshoe earns his ongoing series,
even if he takes a back seat to the baddie this time around.