A young auto mechanic confronts enough corpses to overflow a body shop.
Caleb Rakowski, 22, is about to have his humdrum existence upended. Too bad, because Cal’s grown to like humdrum. Until recently, his life has been made painfully eventful by a cluster of deaths: his mother’s, father’s and brother’s. But time has permitted some healing, and he’s settled into a comfortable niche in the Hamptons doing work he’s gifted at—he has a wizard’s way with complicated cars—for decent pay. And he has a friend, Lebell, someone who understands him, someone he feels he can trust. Wrong. To begin with, Lebell is not Lebell. Nor is he a good many of the other names people have known him by. Whoever he really is, someone’s trying very hard to do away with him for reasons that are never entirely persuasive. Through the ironclad law of unintended consequences, Cal soon realizes that he too has a target on his back. It turns out, however, that the youthful classic-car maven has been seriously underestimated by the bad guys, including the mysterious Rabbit Angstrom (!), and that in the cutthroat game of Survivalist Poker, Cal can wheel and deal with the worst of them.
As in his debut (The Darkest Place, 2006), Judson plots haphazardly, but the writing’s pretty good.