THE THIRD RAIL by Michael Harvey


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Laconic private eye Michael Kelly goes up against a killer who evidently wants to avenge a 30-year-old outrage by executing everyone in the Windy City.

The first victims are shot while they’re riding the L, so it’s widely assumed that the shooter’s motive has something to do with the trains. Chicago mayor John J. Wilson calls in FBI field investigator Katherine Lawson and quickly assembles a task force. Because he’s no fool, he also sits down with ex-cop Michael Kelly (The Fifth Floor, 2008, etc.), hires him off the books and tells him it would be just fine with His Honor if Kelly dropped the perp into a hole so deep that he was never heard of again. Meanwhile, the targets spread out. Police discover the bodies of a building manager and a prostitute. When a massacre of commuters on Lake Shore Drive leaves the shooter dead, Kelly’s hailed as a hero even though he didn’t pull the trigger and isn’t convinced the violence is over. He’s right, of course. The dead man, however murderous, was merely a hireling, and his master still remains ferociously active, planting lethal light bulbs in the L, kidnapping Kelly’s girlfriend, Judge Rachel Swenson, and menacing parties closer and closer to the heart of the investigation. The danger won’t pass till Kelly’s dug up the last buried secret, and maybe not even then.

The mystery is lumpy and unsurprising, but Harvey unfolds his tale with no preliminaries, no digressions and barely an extra word—just a book-length jolt of pure adrenaline.

Pub Date: April 21st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-307-27250-8
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2010


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