International cop Grace Flint makes a second intriguing appearance (Flint, 2000)—but then hangs around too long.
The pace grows uncertain near the 400-page mark. Until then, though, the action’s brisk as the gritty Brit tries to cope with a variety of misfortunes both professional and personal. To begin with, there’s the undercover operation mounted by an ad hoc international task force, directed by Grace, that fails drastically enough to earn ugly headlines in the US and abroad. Aimed at big-time money-laundering, it results in the death of a federal agent as well as loss of face for Grace and her FBI boss. Someone tipped off evil financial genius Karl Grober, enabling him to elude the trap Grace & Co. had set for him—someone purporting to be an ally. But the really dismal betrayal lurks around the corner. Between novels, Grace has fallen in love. Her husband Ben Gates, dedicated birdwatcher, respected member of the Maine Audubon Society, avowedly apolitical, turns out to be a conscienceless fraud in the employ of not one but multiple foreign agencies with secret agendas and dark intent. “I married a lie,” acknowledges Grace to her mirror as she attempts to come to terms with the magnitude of her husband’s deception. But Grace deceived is Grace enraged, and that’s bad news for all the seducers and traducers impinging on her life. In the US, in England, Germany, on an island off Croatia, on a boat on the Bay of Biscay, and finally in Brazil, she hunts relentlessly for faithless Ben and murderous Grober. Nor is she ever constrained by the rules. What’s Flint’s law, a onetime colleague asks rhetorically. And, resignedly, answers: “Whatever she wants it to be.”
Bids fair to be a thoroughly entertaining series. Pare the next one down some, and Grace understated will really shine.