In the fourth book of the Cleary Case Files series, Clark (Third Breath, 2014, etc.) brings back FBI Special Agent Shawn Cleary in a gripping blend of terrorism, serial killers, and even a little romance.
Shawn’s life is in turmoil when this thriller opens. Mitchell Gant is about to go on trial for multiple murders, but his twin brother, Trevor, Shawn’s former partner, is still on the loose. He’s threatened everyone Shawn cares about, so she can’t relax yet: “Over the last six weeks, the feeling never abated, and she believed Trevor Gant lurked in the vicinity, ready to execute his next deadly assault.” Indeed, Trevor’s threat caused Shawn to separate from Nick, the man she loves, in order to keep him safe. To make matters worse, a terrorist cell has weaponized the Ebola virus and is planning to disperse it somewhere in a transportation system. Trevor manages to rig the trial and Mitchell gets off. Later, Shawn goes to arrest Mitchell for another set of murders and a firefight unexpectedly breaks out. This climactic incident leaves Trevor in an even worse frame of mind, but because he’s injured, he’s forced to flee. Shawn is badly hurt herself, but her pursuit of the terrorists brings her and Trevor together one more time. Clark’s greatest gift to readers is her breakneck pacing, which keeps the narrative flying along. Still, it zigs and zags along the way, taking unexpected turns, including the revelation of the terrorists’ ultimate choice of target. She doesn’t give short shrift to characterization, though, especially of Shawn, who cares deeply for those she loves while also being a tough agent near the top of her field. One quibble is that there isn’t much room for more than cameos of some people from previous volumes, including Sgt. Ed Pulaski and the vigilante group Patronus, but there’s still plenty of action and memorable characters to go around. The only real problem is that Clark ties up so many loose ends from earlier books that one wonders what’s left for Shawn to tackle next.
A well-crafted thriller that manages to be both timely and timeless.