Lucas Davenport goes after a clever, ruthless killer hiding in plain sight.
Widowed heiress Alyssa Austin, a former athlete who owns a string of athletic clubs, comes home one night to find her daughter Frances missing, with bloody signs of foul play. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension soon learns that Frances, a Goth girl who inherited $2 million from her father, withdrew $50,000 from her bank account recently. Where did Frances and the money go? While Lucas and his teammates try to track the cash or any goods or services Frances might have purchased, more bodies pile up: a bartender friend of Frances, a buddy of his who works at a liquor store, a Goth realtor. Lucas doesn’t know that these aren’t victims of Frances’s killer but of an unlikely pair bent on avenging Frances: a spectral Goth who calls herself Fairy and Loren, her lover and confederate—their partnership is perhaps a bit too indebted to the felonious duo of Invisible Prey (2007). Sandford enlivens the crosscutting between cops and killers by giving Lucas another job: staking out pregnant Heather Toms while she waits for her husband, dangerous drug dealer Siggy Toms, to come back from Florida for her. This second gig would be a lot more tedious if Heather didn’t keep changing her clothes without bothering to lower the blinds. Of the many obstacles that keep Frances’s murder open, the most interesting is the news that her avenger is a figure close to the investigation who can disperse disinformation and still pass unsuspected among the authorities. The use of multiple-personality disorder to explain away murderous motives is both gratuitous and unconvincing, and it’s no surprise when the most exciting sequence is provided by the Heather Toms subplot.
As usual, there are lots of moves by both good guys and bad, but this time the moves seem old and forced.