Kelly, a former NPR reporter, presents Boston-based newspaper reporter Alexandra James, who stumbles upon a complicated terrorist plot while chasing a trans-Atlantic story.
Thomas Carlyle, only son of the president’s personal attorney and a smart young man of privilege, has returned to Boston from a year studying at Cambridge. When he arrives home, he grabs a couple of bottles of brew and heads over to Harvard University to use a key copied during his student days and ascend a bell tower. But instead of relaxing and watching the action below, he is pushed to his death. When the Chronicle’s staff catches wind of the dead body on Harvard’s campus, Alex is the closest reporter. She reluctantly trots over to the crime scene and manages to worm her way into a front row seat to the action. Following the last few days of Carlyle’s life, Alex traces him back to Cambridge, where she interviews some of his friends and the aloof, self-important girl with whom Carlyle fell in love. Soon, she finds herself in bed with a handsome Englishman and on the trail of a Pakistani scientist with access to the materials critical to making a nuclear device. But when Alex returns to U.S. soil, her story becomes a cat-and-mouse game with very high stakes, and she finds herself deep in the weeds with some pretty scary characters, all of whom wish her anything but well. Kelly uses her own Harvard/Cambridge background to bring authenticity to her tale and writes clear, unadorned prose. In Alex she creates a stereotypical thriller heroine: beautiful, brilliant, plucky and haunted by the events of her past.
A by-the-numbers spy thriller. The tale isn't terribly original but perfect for plane rides, vacations and to read while sitting in waiting rooms.