January, 1944. The Allied forces, pushing toward Rome, are poised to establish a beachhead in the seacoast town of Anzio. Lt. Billy Boyle has other fish to fry. The Boston ex-cop must cope with a double homicide, a case the top brass views as fraught with implications. Lt. Landry, his neck broken, was found with a ten of hearts in his shirt pocket. Capt. Galante, strangled, had the jack. Are the inferences being drawn legitimate? Is some deranged mind planning an escalation from lieutenant on up to heaven knows how high? Once more it falls to Billy to sort out the trouble and put a stop to it. But this time young Billy is distracted. The woman he loves, a comrade in arms, is on a perilous espionage mission. And then, suddenly, unexpectedly, the kid brother Billy has spent a lifetime protecting is sent to a place where he can’t be protected. Though he needs total focus and full commitment as he pursues the fearsome Red Heart Murderer, Billy’s own heart is not quite engaged.
The weakest of this much-praised series. Set against the fierce and pivotal battle of Anzio, which cost upwards of 7,000 Allied lives, Billy’s quest seems dwarfed.