Detectives Frank Kearney and Jose Phelps have ruffled more than a few feathers in their 24 years in D.C. Homicide. But their latest set-to with a small-time crook and full-time creep named Johnny Sam—which has landed the department in a full-blown police brutality lawsuit—has their boss, cover-my-ass Randolph Emerson, as near as anyone’s ever seen to breaking out in a sweat. As punishment, Emerson saddles the pair with a case that’s a cop’s worst nightmare: the drive-by shooting of community activist Father Robert O’Brien. No witnesses. No motive. Nothing but a media feeding frenzy, with the local newspapers clamoring for an arrest while local TV reporter Hugh Worsham urges embarrassing questions about O’Brien’s politics, finances, even his sexual orientation. The mayor, seeing his dream of District statehood imperiled, wants Homicide to shut this thing down fast. But despite the evidence and the mounting pressure, Kearney remains convinced of O’Brien’s essential goodness even when he finds half a million in cash stashed behind a secret panel in the priest’s closet. Working from the slimmest of leads—a composite sketch of a geeky 20-something who may have had coffee with O’Brien the night he was killed and the fleeting glimpse of a red car that a vagrant believes may have been driven by the shooter—Kearney and Phelps hunt down a killer whose method is anything but random.
Thriller-writer Andrews makes a flawless transition from the world of international espionage to the equally deadly crime scene of the nation’s capital.