Rainer’s third thriller featuring Jeff Trask (Horns of the Devil, 2013, etc.) pits the D.C. attorney against drug dealers.
When the daughter of U.S. Sen. Hugh Heidelberg, a Texas oil tycoon, dies of a heroin overdose, Sen. Sherwin Graves of Georgia requests that the case be assigned to Trask, a man he’s worked with before. Trask’s assignment: to find the people who supplied the girl with the drugs. The attorney’s team, which includes an FBI task force, uncovers similar deaths among prostitutes in the D.C. area, but the investigation soon stalls due to a lack of evidence. This changes when Trask attends a conference in Texas and meets fellow attendee Luis Aguilar, a major in the Mexican marines. Aguilar and his men, in the heart of the Mexican cartel wars, have been trying to put a stop to the Los Zetas gang, whose members have been massacring civilians and police alike. The major has an inside man providing intel, which Aguilar passes along to Trask. Authorities on both sides of the border must work together to stop further drug transportation and prevent further loss of life. This installment is less of a legal thriller than previous entries, as Trask spends most of the story in the field rather than in the courtroom, but it still focuses on strategy over action. Indeed, it describes its action scenes primarily after the fact, as when a character updates Aguilar on the cartel’s raids. Trask remains a perplexing, colorful figure; he speaks his mind and is unapologetic when things don’t go as planned. But even he can’t outshine the versatile supporting cast, which includes Frank Aurrichio, an enigmatic “stockbroker” on the Zetas’ payroll; Detective Tim Wisniewski and Officer Randi Rhodes, who pursue a budding romance; vice cop Gordon “Hammer” Hamilton; and Trask’s wife, Lynn, an FBI analyst. Trask does get his time in the legal limelight when a couple of baddies go to trial, but the investigation thrives mainly on the team’s collective effort.
An invigorating thriller with an engaging protagonist surrounded by equally worthy characters.