Nothing in Sam Capra’s three short years in the CIA could have prepared him for the series of high-stakes conspiracies he’s encountered since then (The Last Minute, 2012, etc.), including this tale of a ruthless Mephisto who promises to fulfill his minions’ dreams if only they’ll kill at his command.
Since getting forced out of the CIA, Sam Capra, 26, has opened dozens of bars around the world. So it’s actually statistically likely that he’d be sitting in one of them, San Francisco’s The Select, when a pair of strangers tries to kill a young woman before his eyes. Ever chivalrous, Sam comes to Diana Keene’s aid, and by the end of the episode, Grigori Rostov is dead and Glenn Marchbanks seriously wounded. Diana’s troubles spring from those of her mother, whose successful public relations firm is founded on a fateful deal she cut with John Belias, a modern-day Prince of Darkness. For a price to be named later, Belias arranges through his network of intermediaries for the failure of his associates’ business rivals. In Janice Keene’s case, the current price is the assassination of three well-known figures in Portland, Las Vegas and Chicago. Though her oncologist has already pronounced her death sentence, Janice soldiers on in the fatuous hope of leaving her daughter a better life. Diana begins to make inquiries that bring her to the attention of Belias’ other assassins. And this is just for starters. There’ll be many more betrayals, double crosses, noble/dumb sacrificial gestures, orders from A to B to eliminate C, false suspicions that specific killers have killed people that they don’t happen to have killed and, the most original feature here, violent deaths of people readers thought were keepers.
The criminal mastermind manages to be both repellent and uninteresting, and it’s hard to root for anyone, including Sam, when everyone’s basically under compulsion to eliminate everyone else. Maybe Abbott and his hapless hero should move on to a new formula.