A mysterious Special Ops fixer makes the mistake of taking his job too personally.
Frank Thorpe, an army vet who was booted from Delta Force for starting a civil war in South America, knows how to get things done and doesn’t mind bending the rules. After Delta, Frank went to work for a “shop,” a shadowy private task force that did jobs the government couldn’t afford to take on itself. The shops don’t exactly play by Marquess of Queensbury rules, but Frank was a loose cannon even by their standards, and one of them let him go after he botched a technology-smuggling sting and got one of his comrades killed. Shell-shocked and unemployed, he wanders aimlessly about LA until one day he sees a Mexican peddler manhandled at the airport by a pompous businessman. Outraged, he calls on his undercover contacts to track down the bully, who turns out to be a Newport Beach art dealer named Doug Meachum. Frank then poses as a State Department art-smuggling rep and tells one of Meachum’s customers that the priceless Mayan artifact Meachum sold her is a fake. The customer, a social-climbing drug dealer named Missy Riddenhauser, goes ballistic and sends her sociopathic brother Cecil off to whack the bitchy gossip columnist who exposes the “fraud” in a local paper, and the whole affair kind of snowballs from there. Frank, meanwhile, is still trying to track down the engineer who blew his IT sting and killed his partner. All his friends in the shops tell him the same thing: Revenge is bad for business, a waste of time, and too dangerous for a smart guy to bother with. They’re right. But Frank, who believes in loyalty and justice, has some serious gaps in his education.
Sharp, fast, and slick. Ferrigno (Scavenger Hunt, 2003, etc.) can read like Raymond Chandler on speed, with pages turning and adrenaline pretty high throughout.