In Larew’s (Aftermath, 2017, etc.) thriller, Lee Carruthers’ latest case takes her to Hong Kong to check on her ex–CIA boss’s contact.
Though Lee no longer works for Sidney Worthington, she agrees to see if anything is amiss with his friend and Hong Kong contact Henry Wong, who hasn’t made contact in nearly two months. Unfortunately, almost as soon as Lee makes it to Wong Antiques, she spots two strangers leading Henry away. She tails them but gets caught in a frenzied mob of democracy demonstrators. She learns the men took Henry to a bar owned by the criminal triad group Chau Fong. But Lee can’t immediately link the antiques dealer to anything illicit that would involve the triads. Henry’s son, Percy, is equally perplexing. Cops arrested him during the demonstrations (along with others, including Lee), but now Percy, like his dad, is missing. Lee pokes around bank accounts and makes inquiries, but her investigation turns personal when she uncovers a decades-old connection between the Chau Fong and both Sidney and her late father, Bill. The questions only build when there’s another disappearance, followed shortly thereafter by a murder. Larew maintains a relatively simple mystery, which effectively juggles Lee’s multiple predicaments. Her romantic entanglement with Secret Service agent Jim Sanders, for example, is inhibited by his apparently jealous partner, Jennifer Evans. Lee, whose former job entailed tracing criminal money, is meticulous and plainspoken, both of which are often reflected in her dialogue. When someone asks her about Bill, Lee responds, “He’s dead,” or a terser “Dead.” However, she’s formidable in countless ways, from catching men watching or shadowing her to fighting off an assailant via impressive self-defense tactics (and that’s even before she can reach her Glock 26). The story has several worthy twists, though a couple of those are rather bleak.
This series, now up to three, just keeps getting better, and readers will surely anticipate the protagonist’s next outing.