A fire in a mosque provides new ways to put the sorely tried Sgt. Joe Burgess of the Portland Police Department to ever more challenging tests.
There’s not much Burgess can tell about what’s happened. He knows there’s a fire at the mosque because a brave and resourceful foster child, Jason Stetson, tells him about it while it’s still blazing. He knows that someone locked a young woman and a baby in a closet and left them to die—a wish all too completely fulfilled in the infant’s case. He knows the surviving young woman, lying in a hospital bed at Maine Medical Center, is too traumatized to say a word and that Imam Muhamud Ibrahim has ordered his followers, many of them family members, not to say anything either. And he knows that the mosque has become the center of a violent power struggle that’s entangled unsavory Kimani Yates, whose visit to the hospital terrifies the mute young woman with good reason; William “Butcher” Flaherty, the eye-patched Iron Angel biker whose business with the imam remains shadowy; and property mogul Addison Westerly, whose shell company owns the mosque he’s been at pains to distance himself from. But “the meanest cop in Portland” (Redemption, 2012, etc.) doesn’t know how the pieces of this jigsaw fit together or who the dead baby is or how to resolve the racial and cultural tensions that swirl around the mosque or even how to keep his live-in lover, Chris Perlin, and his suddenly growing family safe from the fallout.
As usual, Flora pours on the intensity for both her police detective and his fans in this criminal, legal and moral maze whose center is clearly a locked closet in a burning mosque but whose boundaries remain frustratingly hazy even at the fade-out.