Lt. Sam Holland and her squad are faced with a series of personal and professional challenges in the 13th entry of the Fatal series.
Sam, the recurring star of this long-running series by Force (Outrageous, 2018, etc.), is a Washington, D.C., homicide detective and also the country’s second lady, married to Vice President Nick Cappuano. Sam and her partner are called in to investigate a disturbing arson case in an exclusive D.C. neighborhood: A couple’s remains have been found, and their 5-year-old twins are the only survivors and possible witnesses. Unfortunately, that rather interesting case is introduced but then sidelined by the personal crises of several of the cops in Sam's department. Most of these stories, especially that of Sgt. Tommy Gonzales and his struggle with opiate addiction, require extensive and overwhelming exposition of previous books, which brings the main murder investigation plot to a grinding halt. Sam and Nick are licensed foster parents and take temporary custody of the twins, a jaw-droppingly implausible twist. The relationship between Sam and Nick is rock-solid, which will please longtime readers of the series, but there is no conflict or relationship development between them, which seems unbelievable given the challenges of two traumatized children entering their home. Although it’s clear Force intends to portray Sam and her squad as heroic cops, she shows every single one of them engaging in some kind of police misconduct to achieve both private and professional ends.
Fails as both romance and mystery.