Since a dead spy and a live cop are basically indistinguishable, Francis Xavier Flynn (Flynn’s In, 1984, etc.) is back on the Boston police force after a year in hiding at Loch Nafooie, Ireland, where his boss, John Roy Priddy (a.k.a. No Name Zero), sent him to persuade the international espionage community he’d died while on assignment in Burundi. And as far as his putative supervisor Captain Timothy Walsh is concerned, Flynn might as well be dead, considering all the time he’s taken off to have appendectomies (twice) and attend his mother’s funeral (five times). But once Police Commissioner Edward D’Esopo makes it clear that, as the only member of the Boston force to hold the rank of Inspector, Flynn is going to be allowed to do exactly whatever he pleases—and will have Walsh’s nephew, Sgt. Richard T. Whelan, as his personal chauffeur and aide-de-camp—he’s free to do the work that God intended: to save civilization from ruin by protecting Harvard Professor Louis Loveson from the cyberattacks of his politically correct colleagues and from a mysterious stalker who sends more traditional death threats via snail mail. Not that Flynn is racist. When he isn’t crossing swords with benighted academics like Dean Wincomb and Donald Carver, he and his chess partner, Lieutenant Walter (“Cocky”) Concannon are conspiring to bust Det. Lt. John Kurt, whose impressive arrest record includes blacks, gays, and Jews, but not a single straight white gentile.
Flynn’s painfully arch return intersperses shreds of detection with gleams of Mcdonald’s trademark badinage (Skylar in Yankeeland, 1997, etc.) and uncomfortable polemic.