A financial consultant, back in Washington years after the suicide of her congressman husband, battles a hydra-headed extragovernmental agency whose existence she’s only dimly aware of.
Molly Malone thought she was returning to D.C. to work for commercial developer Jeff Parker. When that job falls through, her niece Karen Grayson, turning on a dime, finds her a position in the office of Sen. John Russell, the Colorado Independent. No sooner has Molly begun to settle into the great Georgetown flat her new boss, Chief of Staff Peter Brewster, has arranged for her than Karen is killed, apparently by an unusually brutal mugger, but really, we know from hugger-mugger asides, by the minions of the Epsilon Group, a think tank for international finance whose self-appointed responsibilities go way beyond issuing white papers. Surrounded by scorched-earth zealots on both sides of the aisle and creepy staffers like Karen’s old boss Jed Molinoff, whose wife and children didn’t keep him from sleeping with Karen, Molly wonders whom she can trust—especially once her old school friend Danny DiMateo offers protection and romance and Karen’s friend and colleague Celeste Allard agrees to spy on Jed. The climactic revelations fall so far short of the thickly menacing atmosphere that plenty of clouds remain at the fade-out, presumably as material for a sequel or a whole series.
Quite a change of pace for Sefton, last seen arranging wool for the sleuthing knitters of Fort Connor (Cast On, Kill Off, 2012, etc.). If this departure doesn’t exactly reveal a new master of Beltway intrigue, its more jaundiced worldview seems to fit both the author and her heroine significantly better.