This latest entry in the Jeff Trask thriller series finds the federal prosecutor chasing a killer who targets police officers.
Trask, senior litigation counsel for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., is known for his investigative work. When homicide Detective Dixon Carter calls the attorney to a murder scene at the Lincoln Memorial, Trask witnesses the aftermath of Officer Jackie Turner’s brutal death. Subsequent murder victims are cops as well, leading Trask to surmise racially motivated crimes against police, though Turner’s missing gun initially links just two killings. Fearing a “race war,” Trask chooses as his assistant Valerie Fuentes, a competent lawyer but also a levelheaded black woman, to sit at the prosecutor’s table for a probable racially driven trial. The sole lead on the murders, however, is surveillance video showing Turner’s killer, whose only notable physical trait is his colossal size. The murders unfortunately continue, including someone Trask knows, while the attorney, Carter, and others wind up in a blistering gunfight with armed assailants that not everyone comes out of alive. This attack produces an injured baddie with possible answers to the assassinations that now seem to be political as much as racial. Trask, reassigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, searches for the culprit spearheading the murders and unearths a bigger, deadlier plan. The recurring protagonist has gradually become more a man of action than one of legal arguments, and by this fourth series installment, he’s rarely in the courtroom. Readers won’t mind, though, especially by the riveting final act, which delivers plenty of action. There’s an early reveal of bad guys and, essentially, a motive, but each new murder is generally a surprise. Rainer (Death’s White Horses, 2014, etc.) handles the race issue with prudence: Trask says his piece regarding, for example, the Black Lives Matter movement, but Fuentes counters with her own opinion. It gets perhaps a bit excessive when Trask and others have to attend a diversity seminar, with the attorney reiterating his stance when the tale’s already made it abundantly clear. On the upside, plenty of back story on the villains makes them both intriguing and intimidating.
The lawyer-hero remains, as always, resolute and razor sharp, even when using his gun more than his legal brain.