Overdrinking, overweight, suspended maverick FBI agent Mark Beamon, the Bureau’s top kidnapping solver, exiled to the Flagstaff, Arizona, office in the spirited and amusing thriller Storming Heaven (1998), in which he took on the huge Church of Evolution (read Scientology), returns to save the Bureau from its own fumblings and stumblings and a mess leading back to the its founder and plaster saint, J. Edgar Hoover. Rollout from some illegal tapes Beamon stole from the Evolutionists still pitches him about, with Congressional investigations underway. Worse for the Bureau, however, is the emergence of some illegal photos, made by the Bureau years ago, of a young man molesting a preteen girl and then the Bureau doing nothing about the crime in progress. A mixup has had these photos misfiled with the Department of Agriculture. But now they’ve been turned up by a law-school dropout, later murdered, whose rock-climbing girlfriend hides out from the killers. Who wants the files? A villain running for the White House who hires Beamon to find the young woman.
The plotting here allows less room for zingers than in Storming Heaven, but, still it’s nice to have a whole handful of likable characters to follow, not just long-faced dicks and malicious powermongers. (First printing of 75,000 copies)