Psychic investigator Lance Underphal pulls double duty in Scott’s (Flight of the Tarantula Hawk, 2014, etc.) latest thriller, facing manslaughter charges and investigating a possible murder.
Lance may not be able to help his friend Callie, who’s worried about her unreachable uncle Harold. Lance, a psychic, is arrested for manslaughter and has a heart attack soon thereafter. His sister-in-law Hilde claims that Lance is responsible for his wife Sonja’s death from a car wreck several years ago. Sonja assures him this isn’t true—he has frequent conversations with his dead wife—but that doesn’t stop the charges or Hilde’s subsequent civil suit. Callie, meanwhile, enlists PI Jake Jacobs to check on her uncle, who, it turns out, is dead. Cops write it off as a natural death, but Lance, Callie, and Jake suspect murder. Lance tries to make sense of his psychic dreams to find a killer and also prove his innocence. Scott takes a curious approach to the third book in his series, relegating protagonist Lance to what’s essentially a supporting role. It’s a wise choice, since the story centers on the more intriguing murder mystery, with Jake handling nearly all the investigating. Lance does have his own mystery to solve—why Hilde has suddenly turned on him or if someone else is behind the legal assault—but he has only a modicum of input in the murder investigation, even if his vision sprouts a substantial clue. Jake could easily carry the story on his own. The former SEAL is an exemplary detective, zeroing in on the murderer’s motive. He excels at footwork—e.g., scanning license plates in a parking garage to find Harold’s missing car—and is good under pressure, dodging bullets when a baddie takes offense at Jake trailing him. Lance nevertheless remains an engrossing character, his dreams often dark and tortuous. His relationship with Sonja is stronger than any connections to the living, and one dream in particular, in which he floats in clouds with Sonja—and momentarily thinks he’s dead—is a welcome tender moment.
A worthy blend of psychic visions and good old-fashioned detective work.