Agent Smoky Barrett (The Face of Death, 2007, etc.) pulls out all professional and emotional stops to nail a secretive serial killer who goes public with the in-flight stabbing of a transsexual.
Barrett, the scarred but spunky survivor of rape by the murderer of her husband and daughter, jets east from her L.A. office in response to brusque orders from the top, leaving her adopted and equally brutalized, possibly even spunkier daughter in the care of a loving home-school teacher. Her presence has been specifically requested by the grieving mother of the late Lisa/Dexter Reid, assaulted by an unknown assailant in the seat next to her/him on the plane from Texas to Virginia. Rosario Reid wants Smoky to be in charge of the murder investigation; she’s confident that someone who has also lost a child will be persistent and thorough without destroying the political viability of Congressman Dillon Reid, frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, who would rather the media not wallow in his child’s sensitive past or lurid end. Summoning her wisecracking but brilliant colleagues to join the hunt, Smoky learns from the medical examiner that Lisa/Dexter met her/his maker in a window seat and that the killer stuffed a wee crucifix in the fatal stab wound before disappearing. Further investigation shows that the in-flight murder was just the tip of the iceberg; there have been scores of earlier crucifix-stuffed victims, perhaps as many as 150. The search for their killer takes Smoky to a kindly priest. It turns out that all the victims had Awful Secrets. And Smoky herself has an Awful Secret. Many sordid tales later, the crack team narrows in on the very Catholic murderer. Or murderers.
Lots of gasping, but no real thrills.