If a New Jersey state cop can’t prove within a week that the murder suspect he shot dead was innocent, his brother will pay the price.
When a knife attack ends rising legal star Daniel Brennan’s life just before he’s scheduled to move up from the Superior Court bench to the Court of Appeals, Lt. Lucas Somers catches the case. The judge’s murder is so high-profile that Luke’s boss gives him extra resources, extra leeway and extra pressure. The very first lead Luke pursues—three-time drug offender Steven Gallagher, whom Brennan had promised a stiff sentence—turns up trumps for Luke, though not so much for Steven, whom Luke shoots three times as Steven, cornered in his Paterson apartment, raises his gun. It’s clearly a righteous shooting, and Luke is rewarded with congratulations, television interviews and the kidnapping of his brother, Bryan, by Steven’s brother, Chris, a Marine who flew home from Afghanistan to help Steven face his legal woes and now intends to deal with his death by taking the life of his killer’s brother, whom he’s chained in an underground shelter with a TV, a computer, some food and enough air for seven days. Can Luke rise to Chris Gallagher’s challenge and collect enough evidence of Steven’s innocence to save his own brother’s life? Acting on another hunch, he quickly satisfies himself that the real reason for Judge Brennan’s death was a civil suit concerning fracking in upstate New York. But Luke will need every one of his enviable law enforcement contacts in order to determine just which of the many interested parties was determined to tip the scales of justice.
This latest stand-alone from the chronicler of attorney Andy Carpenter (Leader of the Pack, 2012, etc.) is two-thirds perfectly controlled suspense, one-third scrambled windup.