A straight-arrow cop gets entangled with a crooked lady and—surprise!—rues the day.
Bobby Dodge likes his job as a sniper with the Massachusetts State Police Special Tactics squad, a SWAT unit. He likes his girlfriend Susan, a beautiful and talented musician. In short, Bobby likes his life until the night Catherine Gagnon drops into it. What appears at first not much more than a run-of-the-mill domestic disturbance—husband screaming at cowering wife—suddenly escalates when the screaming husband has a gun and the cowering wife is wrapped protectively around a terrified child. There’s no time for anything but trained instinct when Bobby, watching through the scope of his rifle, sees Jimmy Gagnon’s finger tightening on the trigger. It’s a righteous shot, an act that saved the lives of Catherine and her young son, Bobby insists. Most agree at first. In the days that follow, however, minds change. Catherine, it seems, has a past; she also has the kind of beauty that unsettles as readily as it attracts. She’s a dangerous woman, Bobby is warned. Before long, he realizes that as a manipulator she can take her place with the best of history’s dark ladies. And that maybe the shooting wasn’t so righteous after all.
Gardner (The Killing Hour, 2003, etc.) tends to overplot, but as always the strength of her characters keeps the pages turning.