Neville’s latest thriller (The Clown House, 2012, etc.) finds lawyer and investment banker Tom Madison under suspicion by the FBI when he tries to help a friend suspected of murder.
When Madison receives a voicemail from Kim Blumenthal, an official at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, saying that one of his law firm’s clients is in trouble, he hops right on a plane. But once in New York, he’s surprised to find that Kim is now missing—and even more surprised to receive a strange call from his old friend Hyrum Cobb, a Native American who runs the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Hyrum’s messages, in a code that only Tom can decipher, say that Kim’s been killed; so has Dale Davis, of the Department of the Treasury, who’d been involved in a blackmail scheme involving the $3.2 billion Cobell Indian settlement. It turns out that the FBI had been monitoring Kim and Dale and had recorded them mentioning Hyrum’s name, so Hyrum went into hiding. Tom teams up with his ex-wife (and Hyrum’s niece), Magena Brown, to track Hyrum down and recover a missing memory card from Dale’s cellphone that could contain crucial evidence. Meanwhile, FBI agent Libby Villalobos is desperate to close the case, as she was the assassin and now needs a patsy to take the blame. Although the murderer’s identity is quickly revealed, the novel is still jam-packed with action, as Hyrum directs Tom and Magena to a mysterious flash drive; later, the identity of the “mentor” who gave Libby her murderous assignment is revealed. The plot is easy to follow, thanks to its unambiguous heroes and villains, whose intentions are always clear. Some plot points, though, are unnecessarily convoluted; cracking the password-protected flash drive, for example, is far too complicated, entailing almost 12 pages of Tom and Magena discussing symbols. That said, Neville doesn’t allow many moments to linger for very long, and he maintains an impressively fast tempo by bouncing back and forth between scenes, such as Tom and Magena working out Hyrum’s perplexing voicemail while Libby is bound and gagged in a bathtub.
An engaging story with scrupulously detailed characters and a swift pace that will leave readers reeling.