In Lansing’s (Dead is Dead, 2016, etc.) fourth series installment, retired inspector Jack Bertolino works a case for the feds to find an undercover FBI agent who’s missing.
When Agent Luke Hunter vanishes 18 months into an undercover gig, the FBI turns to former New York cop Jack, now living in Marina del Rey, California. Luke’s case involves gangsters and “person of interest” Vincent Cardona. Jack had previously tracked down Cardona’s kidnapped daughter, Angelica, a return favor for the mobster’s assistance after a cartel tried killing Jack’s son, Chris, a Stanford baseball pitcher. Jack and his associates, Mateo and Cruz, focus on an illegal gambling yacht, the Bella Fortuna, a joint venture for Cardona. They interrogate gamblers and yacht crew, looking for a motive to explain Luke’s disappearance. But while Jack receives support from Liz, Luke’s FBI agent sister, the feds question his allegiance when it appears he’s sleeping with Angelica—possibly dangerous info once Cardona hears about it. Jack, however, soon suspects the reason Luke is missing is unrelated to Cardona and may entail a revenge scheme likely to result in numerous deaths. Apparently, he’s onto something—someone makes an attempt on Jack’s life. Though Lansing opens with a relatively simple plot, he spins the tale into a mass of distrustful characters. There are potential cheaters on the Bella Fortuna and yacht employees with hidden agendas. Readers are immediately aware of Luke’s fate, but Jack’s investigation revolves around the genuine mystery of future nefarious plots. The book’s latter half amplifies the action significantly, including the introduction of a Molotov cocktail, and allots space for a bit of drollness. Mateo, for example, points out that Jack’s “list of enemies is growing exponentially” as he closes more cases. The satisfying conclusion, like in preceding novels, implies the series will continue.
The exuberant characters and swift pace will thrill new and returning readers.