Sharon McCone’s 28th case.
After a bullet put her out of commission for the better part of a year while she learned to walk and talk and reestablish some semblance of independence, McCone has one more indignity to suffer through: her kith and kin’s conviction that she’s less than she was before, more prone to mistakes, less proficient as a private eye. When Piper Quinn, who like McCone is climbing back from physical problems, misses five days of rehab, McCone goes looking for her and finds that not only has her apartment been dismantled and repainted, but the neighbors swear she never lived there. McCone calls on Adah Joslyn, from her agency, for assistance. Adah’s disappearance sends her into full investigative mode. Using his secret government contacts, McCone’s husband, Hy Ripinsky, learns that Piper’s ex-husband, supposedly killed in Iraq, did hush-hush work for rogue elements not accountable to Congress. Now the hunt is truly on, with no clear indication who’ll surface first: Piper, her ex or Adah. McCone and Ripinsky take helicopters, buses and vintage cars to suspect locations while their employees fiddle with flow charts, telecommunications and legwork. They turn up a few extraneous bodies, but not the ones they’re looking for until McCone’s expended almost all her limited strength and Ripinsky’s been dinged in the shoulder.
Glib and heavy-handed. Muller (Locked In, 2009, etc.) tackles security forces run amok with all the subtlety of a supermarket tabloid.