Lincoln Rhyme goes geopolitical.
A mile away from a high-caliber rifle, anti-American activist Roberto Moreno falls dead in his Bahamas retreat, along with his guard and a reporter who was interviewing him. Nance Laurel, the New York assistant district attorney who’s convinced that the assassinations were the work of an undercover government agency, invites quadriplegic criminalist Lincoln Rhyme and his NYPD lover, Amelia Sachs, to investigate. As usual, the case poses special challenges. The murder scene, presumably awash in forensic evidence, is over a thousand miles from Rhyme’s wheelchair, and the Bahamian police aren’t eager to share their information. The sinister National Intelligence and Operations Service has already issued orders to liquidate its next target in only a week. NIOS hireling Jacob Swann and another unnamed killer are methodically eliminating evidence and witnesses before they can tell their stories. Even when Rhyme improbably decides to fly to the Bahamas and into a far more generic sort of adventure than his usual—getting stonewalled by uncooperative cops, getting waylaid by hired killers, getting suntanned—the rewards are slim, for he finds crime-scene tape gone from the room where Moreno and the others died; it is being cleaned and painted as he watches (a nice touch). And of course, Deaver, who can’t resist any opportunity for ingenuity (XO, 2012, etc.), keeps mixing fastballs, curveballs and change-ups. Even though there are so few suspects, and the guilty parties are so obvious, veteran readers won’t trust a single fact until it’s been triple-checked, and maybe not even then.
Deaver’s sleight of hand, so effective on the homefront, carries less weight in a world of international counterterrorism in which it’s a given that everybody’s trying to kill or discredit everybody else. It’s still magic, but it’s harder to care when everyone is a magician.