In the third book of Ekemar’s (Where the Bones of a Buried Rat Lie, 2014, etc.) planned tetralogy, Matthias Callaghan finds that loose threads in his web of lies threaten to unravel his subterfuge.
Unlike the previous book, which largely established the setting for future installments, this latest volume is jam-packed with action. In it, Callaghan’s intricate strategies begin to come apart. At the outset, he believes that the murder he orchestrated of former mob lawyer Charles Rathbone has brought an end to his troubles: “I was a man free of a past that had haunted me.” But discrepancies in death certificates, the past crimes of his father (whose identity he still sometimes assumes), and the doggedness of Detective Herbert Barker are slowly pointing authorities toward the real Callaghan. Meanwhile, the various criminals that he’s been conning are also getting close to cracking his schemes. The pressure forces him to pay off his father’s debts and flee London with his new girlfriend, Samantha. Ultimately, though, he starts making mistakes; he makes a big one after a hired assassin named Thumps tails him to Arizona, and soon, he must make a run for Mexico. As usual, Ekemar expertly balances his myriad schemes and characters. In the first two installments, as Callaghan took on new identities, the author expertly painted his subtle personality changes as he gained confidence and lost his humanity. Here, Ekemar is equally deft at tracing Callaghan’s shifting manner as his fortunes begin to turn. The author also demonstrates his prowess with timing, plot development, and creating tension. Overall, this penultimate volume is an electrifying thrill ride that sends its disparate characters rushing toward their various destinies. The author tops it all off by leaving readers teetering on a cliffhanger.
Once again, Ekemar’s well-drawn, realistic characters and wild, suspenseful plot render this an absolute must-read for series fans.