Another serial killer, this time a professional assassin ready to murder anyone standing between him and his target, calls Atlanta profiler Jack Kale back to the FBI.
Jack, last seen teaching forensic psychology at Georgia Tech, is initially standoffish about joining the investigation into the death of Dr. George Lawrence, who was killed by a bomb together with the six other people in his cable car four weeks after he, his wife, Rachel, and their partner, Dr. Wilson Landry,happened to see unsavory Sergei Borov pass a briefcase to a bank official tied to a money-laundering case. He doesn’t care that Borov probably hired a killer dubbed the Sandman to eliminate all three witnesses to the transaction before they can testify—until his all-but-fiancee, Detective Beth Sturgis of the Atlanta PD, adds her personal plea to the FBI’s full-court press. And it’s a good thing Jack (Once Shadows Fall, 2015) is willing to go back on the job, because the Sandman isn’t letting any grass grow under his feet. A dedicated professional, he methodically scopes out Rachel’s house and the hospital where she works, arranges two separate killing scenarios that Jack foils, enlists an addled drug addict to help with a third, and leaves a mounting pile of bodies in his wake. True to convention though not to reality, he even meets Beth twice face to face, taunts her, then lets her off with a warning that he doesn’t give many second chances. As if. Jack, fighting not only the Sandman, but his own panic attacks and his addiction to the prescription medication that controls them, still finds the time to pop the question to Beth. It looks as if they’ll face their next monstrous opponent as a married couple, assuming that they survive their encounter with this one.
Synthetic but highly effective thrills for fans who wish Jeffery Deaver, whose strengths and weaknesses Daniels follows as faithfully as the footprints in a dance lesson, would turn them out faster.