A prosecutor and a homeless man team up against a murderous conspiracy in this rollicking thriller.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Charlie Beckham is thrown for a loop when a deranged man on a subway platform addresses him by a nickname known only to his long-lost brother Jake. The problem is that Jake’s been presumed dead for 13 years. Charlie scours Boston’s back alleys for the elusive vagrant and finds a grizzled amnesiac named Bonz with the grooming of a sasquatch, the fighting chops of a Navy SEAL and serious mental instability. Soon, Charlie’s life collapses: He blows the biggest case of his career, a colleague, Angel, is found dead in his apartment, and Charlie finds himself on the run from the law with Bonz as his only ally. To get clear of the wreckage, the pair must solve a labyrinthine mystery—one that knits together Jake’s fate, Bonz’s foggy past and a missing audiotape. The two also contend with some formidable bad guys, one of whom specializes in hammering nails into his victims’ heads. Hankins’ sly buddy adventure contrasts two unlikely comrades. Charlie’s well-ordered world crumbles into paranoia and theft, while Bonz works toward forming coherent sentences and practicing better hygiene. The two settle into an entertaining dynamic as their statuses equalize, with Charlie’s squeamish legalism playing off Bonz’s unself-conscious violence and practicality. Hankins surrounds them with a crackerjack cast of bristling thugs, weaselly lowlifes and beady-eyed feds, and he ties the story together with pitch-perfect dialogue, mordant humor and action scenes poised exquisitely between menace and chaos. At times the plot’s scheming and counterscheming gets a bit over-the-top, but readers will likely be having too much fun to notice.
A complex, entertaining thriller.