In Reynolds’ thriller, a woman learns that her half sister, killed in an explosion, was not only suspected by the FBI of being a terrorist, but may have worked as a spy as well.
Tech-business owner Lindsey Carlisle is distraught when feds stop by her house and tell her that her half sister Cat and Cat’s husband, Tom, died in a home fire/explosion. But it gets worse: the FBI was monitoring Cat, under suspicion of funding terrorists. Lindsey isn’t quite sure what Cat did for a living—“I’m not at liberty to say” was her sister’s refrain—but she knows that Cat isn’t guilty of terrorism. Cat, however, was most definitely a covert agent under the employ of any number of agencies; even her best friend and former U.S. ambassador, Paul Marshfield, can’t specify which one. The story takes readers back in time, when Cat, surmising that she was being made a patsy (someone set up offshore accounts in her name), initiated a plan to find out who was trying to take her down; she started leaving clues for Lindsey, too. Reynolds’ novel begins as a mystery, as Lindsey examines her sister’s life and, with a backup of Cat’s hard drive (company employee Jason had troubleshot her laptop), access to hidden files. Lindsey is more spectator than participant, often not in any real danger—though an attempted mugging, when she’s stashing pertinent flash drives in her purse, is unsettling. Many of the details of what Cat was doing are revealed in the more exciting second half, when perspective shifts to the sister. Cat is a female 007—even carrying Bond’s gun, a Walther PPK—and, like the literary Bond, adept at stealthily keeping an eye on people. Her mission (of sorts) may have an international origin, with possible ties to her helping a couple of doctors in Tehran over 30 years ago. The two sisters’ stories come together for a sterling conclusion, with just enough unanswered questions for a potential sequel. Reynolds’ writing is accessible, though she has a tendency to overexplain, especially basic computer terms, like wireless and encryption key, which don’t need much clarification.
Cat is the more exhilarating of the sibling protagonists, her prowess and ingenuity helping make the entire novel a worthy read.