Thriller veteran David Lindsey (The Face of the Assassin, 2004, etc.) kicks off this pseudonymous new series with the surprisingly glossy account of a sexual predator with a talent for getting inside his partners’ fantasies.
Trophy wife Elise Currin can’t imagine how her lover Ray Kern can divine her darkest secrets. The sex is mind-blowing but scary. So is the idea that Ray knows everything she’s ever thought. Lore Cha feels the same way about Philip Krey, who takes her places she’s never gone and isn’t sure she’ll ever come back from. Most distressed of all, however, is Vera List, the widowed psychotherapist who treats both women, who don’t know each other, and who’s convinced that the two preternaturally sensitive lovers are one and the same, and that whoever he is, he’s getting the lowdown on them in a much more prosaic way: by breaking into Vera’s case files. Shaken, she consults Marten Fane, an ex–San Francisco cop who assures her that he’s not a private detective: “There’s no job description for what I do.” He in turn brings in his colleagues Roma Solís, formerly of Colombia’s Policía Nacional; counter-surveillance specialist Jon Bücher; and Bobby Noble, whose job at Virtual Marketing Research has nothing to do with marketing research. Together they plot to bring down the predator who’s actually Ryan Kroll, a former CIA interrogator now with Vector Strategies, and whose long-range plan is a good deal more sinister than seducing and tormenting the best-looking women in the Bay Area.
Has the bones of a good-enough story, but the battle between the franchise hero and the bogeyman, swathed in self-seriousness, suffers from a serious absence of real menace beneath the inflated descriptions.