Private investigator Max Bowman confronts a familiar enemy in the third installment of Canfield’s (Blue Fire, 2016, etc.) thriller series.
Max has no desire to go up against criminal mastermind Andrew Wright again after barely surviving the first two times. But he can’t say no to Kaitlyn Marks, who blames Wright for putting her U.S. senator father into a near-vegetative state (during the events of Blue Fire) and offers to fund an investigation into Wright’s whereabouts. She tells Max that she received a phone call from a woman named Yvonne Vargas, who claims to have proof that she’s Wright’s illegitimate daughter. He leaves New York City to meet Yvonne in Miami, where things quickly spiral out of control. There, he spots Barry Filer, Wright’s lethal second-in-command—and the first suspect when one of Max’s friends turns up dead. News that his beloved dog, Eydie, has run away makes Max return to New York, where a trio of murderous bicyclists torment him. Filer’s recurring, sudden appearances soon threaten not only Max, but also the people around him, including his young cohort Jeremy, aka “PMA” (“Power, Mind, Action”). Meanwhile, the PI delves into Wright’s past, which appears to intersect with his own. The initial mystery, involving Wright’s letters to Yvonne’s mom, quickly takes a back seat as Canfield’s complex story develops. Filer always seems to know where Max is, but specifics on Wright’s latest enigmatic “venture,” dubbed “Red Earth,” are harder to come by. The story heavily refers to preceding books in the series (and occasionally spoils them), so new readers won’t be lost. Still, they should read the previous books, if only to get the full evolution of the father-son dynamic between Max and PMA (whom the PI affectionately calls “kid”) and to appreciate the accumulation of Wright’s fiendish deeds. Max’s first-person narration is more winsome than ever; for instance, his rejoinder to a bodyguard’s reputed ability to rip a phone book in half is, “They still make those?”
A welcome return of a witty protagonist.