In Wright’s debut thriller, the FBI enlists the help of an Atlanta detective to track down a parolee he put in prison who’s apparently plotting an armored-car heist.
The feds believe that Vince Taglierri’s the guy to find Troy Bronson after the recently paroled ex-con goes missing. After all, Vince caught him the first time—and now Troy’s faxing the FBI, taunting the police detective to catch him again. Vince’s captain agrees to the plan but partners him with another detective, Paul “Pinky” Sturman, citing Vince’s feeble closure stats. The cops talk to Troy’s former cellmate, Guy, who drops a bombshell: Troy is scheming to rob a truck transporting Federal Reserve Bank funds. The ex-con himself later asks to meet Vince at a gentlemen’s club, offering to cut him in for a cool $3 million if he redirects the FBI’s attention away from him. The detective may have further incentive to take the money after he reads up on the Federal Reserve and thinks that it may be taking advantage of taxpaying citizens. He starts a relationship with Troy’s lawyer, Gloria Douglas, but isn’t sure if her involvement in the ex-con’s plan is deeper than she leads Vince to believe. He also runs into a ski-masked man waiting at his apartment to kill him. The cop is left with a choice between taking easy money or upholding the law, but he can’t decide whom to trust. Wright’s 2004 backdrop sets an appropriate mood, with hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne flooding the story with torrential rain. Among the secondary characters, the good and bad guys are almost indistinguishable from one another; robbers Cole and Ray are just as charming and fascinating as Pinky, a councilman’s son whose nickname is derived from his now-useless digit, which he injured years ago. The real villain, it seems, is capitalism: money winds up in many hands, and it usually doesn’t end well. This notion goes a bit too far, though, when a claims adjuster visits Vince in the hospital and he threatens to kill her if she bills him; the scene succeeds only in making him seem more violent than most of the criminals.
A well-founded dilemma for the protagonist topped off with an exciting robbery attempt.