In the third thriller to feature Ross Cortese (The Broderick Curse, 2009, etc.), the detective contends with both a killer targeting landlords and a Russian assassin out for retribution.
In 1993 New York, Lt. Cortese connects the murder of two landlords before a third man survives an attack. Cortese is unaware that Doschenko, a former KGB agent on the run, is in the city and looking for payback, blaming the lieutenant for his exile. Cortese’s Austrian girlfriend, Willi, with whom he’s recently rekindled a romance, may also be in danger, while real estate businessman, Mo Marquette, finds enjoyment in the recent murders—but is he the killer? Peretz’s novel comprises two concurrent stories—the ongoing investigation and Doschenko’s revenge—but the dual plots enhance each other. In fact, they get equal airtime, and when one slows down, the other picks up. For example, when the Russian makes a move with disastrous consequences, resulting in lengthy hospital scenes, the landlord case keeps rolling, zeroing in on feuding men in real estate. And the separation of plots ultimately makes the both of them stronger: Watching the cops endure a tragic event adds dimension to the characters, and seeing the landlords’ side of the investigation, instead of a solely procedural view, gives that story more texture. The author fills the pages with a diverse assortment of characters, some of whom have appeared in previous books—Cortese’s wisecracking partner, Sgt. Kelsey; Detective Ruth Wilson, a former FBI profiler; Detective Sal McDevitt, the protagonist’s girlfriend in between time with Willi; and Mo, whose affair is offset by the fact that a divorce from his wife would mean losing his job and all of his money. But none compare to Doschenko, who has a cold, calculated demeanor that inspires unease; he’s being paid for an assassination, but the job is a labor of love. The book is sizable but feels like a quick read thanks to short chapters and a lively bouncing back and forth between the two stories.
Seamless blending of stories and first-rate characterizations.