Adrian Quinn’s spent 13 years in prison plotting his revenge. Once out, he’ll take down everyone who conspired against him. And to make them really suffer, he’ll begin by killing someone they loved. But his plan goes awry when he mistakenly slays one of political candidate Joseph Ramos’s foster children instead of his daughter, leaving his other foster child, young Jose Ortiz, who often fought with the girl, to be charged with the murder. Quinn’s more on target when he kills a judge’s husband and a prosecutor’s daughter, then zeroes in on a juror and his former boss. When he aims at Detective Marti MacAlister’s firefighter husband Ben of Lincoln Prairie, Illinois, Marti and her white partner Vik Jessenovik, assigned to the Ramos case, are too busy trying to disprove Jose’s guilt to see the connection between the victims. Over at the precinct, cops Slim and Cowboy do see the pattern, but by the time they alert Marti, fires have been set all over the city, Ben’s been hurt at one and hospitalized, and Quinn, disguised as a woman, is riding the hospital elevators watching for Marti. Unluckily for him, she’s quicker with a Beretta than he is with a knife.
As stolid and earnest as Marti’s first nine cases (Whispers in the Dark, 2001, etc.), and animated only when Bland takes dead aim at the inadequacies of the juvenile welfare system and ponders the Olympic prospects of Marti’s volleyball-playing daughter.