Clinical psychologist Daniel Rinaldi gets yanked out of a session with a patient and onto a smoking-hot trail of dirty money, dirtier politicians and wholesale killing.
At the first sign of trouble, one of the two robbers who’d stormed into Pittsburgh’s First Allegheny Bank turns tail and flees. The other one executes assistant manager Bobby Marks, who doesn’t stay quite still enough; frees Bobby’s girlfriend, bank officer Treva Williams; keeps three more hostages inside; and begins issuing demands. That’s when Det. Eleanor Lowrey phones Dr. Rinaldi, whom she’s worked with before (Mirror Image, 2010, etc.), and demands that he high-tail it downtown and interview the traumatized Treva before things get worse. Rinaldi does his best, but things get worse anyway, and the robber, stealing a page from the Hannibal Lecter playbook, makes a clean getaway. The robbery-turned-murder is only the beginning of a crime spree that will seriously complicate D.A. Leland Sinclair’s gubernatorial bid, make Rinaldi wonder whether Post-Gazette reporter Sam Weiss is indeed correct that Sinclair is in attorney Evan McCloskey’s pocket, and produce a collateral-damage casualty list worthy of a high-stakes actioner. There’s no need for Palumbo to dial down the suspense while Rinaldi goes looking for suspects, since they keep coming at him in waves. Through it all, this unlikely hero, even when he’s abducted and threatened with death, keeps his cool, keeps his edge and never backs down from either the bad guys or his alleged allies, as if he were Jack Reacher with a psychology degree.
Palumbo, who’s willing to do absolutely anything to keep up the tension, succeeds admirably. Readers who don’t require originality and plausibility in their detective thrillers will be as happy as career politicians whose skeletons are securely locked away.