The latest from the author of First Born (2000) starts as a straight thriller, then takes its protagonist into increasingly occult territory.
Undercover cop Charlie Wolf, parted for 18 months from his wife and baby daughter, knows that he will die this afternoon at three o’clock but doesn’t know how. He has defaulted on his friendship with Ray Sasso, president of the Nomad chapter of the Sons of Fire Motorcycle Club and a big distributor of methamphetamine. Ray stands in the community as a kind of Don Corleone, keeping crime out of the neighborhood. Charlie gets hooked on meth while working his way into a friendship with Ray, who saves him when two bikers set about beating him to death. Charlie in turn wants to save Ray, married with a seven-year-old son, who declares he wants out of the biker’s life even as he sets up a huge meth score. Then a takedown goes bad, the cops raiding before the exchange of money for product, and Charlie takes a bullet in the right temporal lobe. He dies several times, goes out of body, visits his long-dead brother, and comes to in the hospital seeing auras. District Attorney Jane Carroll tells Charlie he must lie in court about evidence she’s planted, which means defaulting again on Ray. Having supernatural foresight but big gaps in short-term memory, Charlie flees the hospital, the bullet still in his brain, and hides out on Montauk Point, Long Island, with his wife and daughter. Ray’s pregnant wife and seven-year-old son are killed by a car bomb on the day he makes bail. Locked up in a material-witness program, he escapes at their funeral. Then fear drives Charlie’s psychotic episodes into full bloom, dragging the unwary reader into horrors that never happened.
Big thrills, amber with psychosis, nose-prickling as rotten apples. Brad Pitt, snap this up.