Does a serial bomber have a grudge against his estranged wife—or against the American way of life?
The first bomb goes off outside Harvard Law School, killing Mary Alice Boudreaux, a student helping Jackie Klevinski get an injunction against her abusive husband Joe. Jackie is terrified that Joe has upped the ante from beating her to blowing up anybody who gets close to her. But she’s no more scared than neuropsychiatrist Peter Zak when a second bomb explodes inside the Cambridge Courthouse, sparing Peter’s life only because he’s running late. Or than Det. Sgt. Joseph MacRae when a pair of rambling rants (“The law prevent Us from pursuing Our destiny”) left at the two bomb scenes link them and promise more of the same. There’ll be other explosions as the bomber follows an obscure pattern with the police a step behind. Meanwhile, Peter’s lover, investigator Annie Squires, struggles to convince a wavering Jackie that Joe can’t change. But her attempts to track the long history of Joe’s violence by finding his vanished first wife get short shrift from MacRae, who tells her that in the wake of the bombing investigation, they’d have a hard time putting cops on the street even “if the mayor’s wife went missing.”
A powerful double dose of detection, though it lacks the corkscrew invention of Peter’s four earlier cases (Obsessed, 2003, etc.).