Gardner debuts in hardcover with a cool and mostly accomplished psychokiller tale, again following the adventures of FBI agent Pierce Quincy and private-eye Lorraine “Rainie” Connor.
Having just set herself up as a p.i. in Portland, Oregon, former cop Connor is wondering how she'll pay her bills when Quincy knocks on her door. The pair shared previous adventures, and now Quincy wants to hire Connor to reinvestigate what seems to have been the accidental death of his daughter Amanda: a reformed alcoholic who supposedly fell off the wagon, ran over a pedestrian, and then drove her Ford Explorer into a tree in Virginia. But her father thinks the death may have been arranged. Just as Connor is uncovering some clues, Quincy's ex-wife Bethie meets a handsome stranger in Philadelphia and is horribly murdered. It doesn't take long for Quincy (whose unlisted phone number is mysteriously accessible to many of the felons he's locked up) to figure out that someone from his past is out to get him and his family. The action shifts to New York, where Quincy's other daughter, Kimberly, is studying criminology and seeing a psychiatrist to try to make sense of her sister's and mother's deaths. Quincy is almost paralyzed with guilt: his zealous attention to FBI duties ruined his marriage and might have caused Amanda’s alcoholism. He and Connor believe that the psychokiller, who is a master of disguise, adept at forgery, and unusually knowledgeable about FBI procedures (could it be a jealous fellow agent Quincy inadvertently humiliated long ago?), will go after Kimberly next. Then a phone call reveals that Quincy’s father has been kidnapped from his nursing home by someone masquerading as Quincy.
Consistent suspense stumbles only in the final confrontation. Seasoned, older crime-fighter Quincy is wooden, Connor delightfully brash and spunky.