A debut thriller with familiar ingredients—serial killer, train-bombing terrorists, corrupt lawyers and politicians—and lots of clichés, chopped, mixed in and stirred.
For lawyer Scott Finn and police detective Linda Flaherty much rides on their current cases. If Finn can win a big award for the widow who’s suing a security company for negligence in the terrorist bombing of a Boston commuter train, he’ll be clear of his troubled past and head to a partnership in the prestigious law farm where he toils. (That domestic terrorism has become a plotting canard gives one pause.) If police detective Linda Flaherty can find “Little Jack,” a serial killer who apparently just carved up his latest victim, she’ll get her belligerent captain off her case. Finn and Flaherty’s success in their cases never seems in doubt—Boston attorney Hosp’s slack plotting, lumbering pace and grab-bag description (“sent a cold shiver up her spine”; “like the last rats off a sinking ship”) suggest early on that few, if any, surprises are on the way. Finn, for example, who has a drinking problem, shares a tense drink date with co-worker Natalie Caldwell, with whom he’s been having an affair. The next day another corpse turns up in Boston Harbor and, of course, it’s Natalie. An autopsy, though, suggests her gruesome murder may not have been Jack’s handiwork, which means a copycat killer may be at large. (The latter’s demented, Hannibal Lecter–style musings periodically interrupt the narrative.) Finn feels obligated to find the killer of his friend, so now he’s on the case as well, soon edging close to Linda. But their warming relationship cools when Linda uncovers evidence in Finn’s apartment linking him to Caldwell’s murder. Clues about Natalie’s discovery of a secret deal and the involvement in the case of Boston’s Irish mob telegraph the ending.