Schofield drops the paranormal elements that made his first two thrillers (Storm Rising, 2016, etc.) hyphenated creatures for the more earthbound tale of a Homeland Security agent fighting a vicious baby-laundering operation.
Make that relatively earthbound, since the story hits the ground running and swiftly develops surrealistically multilayered complications. After cutting abruptly away from Lisa May Green, who’s survived a fatal car crash only to be imprisoned by Roland Lewis, the fiance she has no memory of, Schofield focuses on Sarah Lockhart, a Customs and Border Protection officer posted to Sicily to help the local Guardia di Finanza and Immigration people screen ships carrying questionable mercantile and human cargo. At least that’s what she thinks she’ll be doing until she’s pulled more and more insistently into investigating a series of crimes way outside her bailiwick: the smuggling of infant refugees whose counterfeit papers have laundered them thoroughly enough to be adopted by wealthy, influential Americans like Kenneth and Darlene Eden. Forming a series of remarkably fluid tag-team alliances with U.N. official Renate Richter, private security specialist Conrad Nelthorp, Florida Detective Scott Jardine, and her current line manager and former supervisor, Phyllis Corbin, Sarah follows the adoption trail to New Jersey Mafia boss Dominic Lanza and Sicilian mobsters Antonio and Gustavo Mazzara and soon finds that she can account for only 41 of the 42 babies smuggled into the United States and that sometimes mob bosses are more reliable allies than employees of the U.S. government. All this is every bit as complicated as it sounds, especially when you throw in Sarah’s painfully recurring memories of her grandmother’s nightmarish World War II experience, her getting framed for the murders of the Edens, and the case of Lisa May Green (remember her?).
Muscular, overplotted intrigue that will have some readers checking their blood pressures and others their wristwatches.