The latest installment in Tanenbaum's long-running Karp-Ciampi series (Escape, 2008, etc.).
An ailing young boy dies after a con man talks the 10-year-old's parents into turning to faith instead of medicine. A female Russian assassin who infiltrated Islamic terrorist groups for the government has her own deadly agenda. So does Grale, king of the Mole People, an underground army of homeless people. It's all in a day's work for Butch Karp and Marlene Ciampi, star husband-wife duo of the New York District Attorney's Office. This installment is centered on Karp's negligence case against David and Nonie Ellis, who put their faith in the slick Rev. C.G. Westlund to save their suffering son Micah from a rare cancer. The preacher, who recently escaped trouble in Memphis, pressured Nonie into putting him and his "church" down as insurance beneficiaries, but if Karp gets the parents convicted, there will be no payoff. Meanwhile, the Russian, Nadya Malovo, who is supposedly working for Karp, is plotting to kill him and his family, holding a grudge from incidents in previous books involving his nemesis, Andrew Kane. Nadya and Grale have a history as well. A book is in trouble from the start when its terrorism plot is second or third in importance. As celebrated as Tanenbaum is as a trial lawyer, he is unable to make the legal case at the heart of this story—or any of the narrative odds and ends surrounding it—fresh or suspenseful. The dialogue is stiff, the dramatic scenes unintentionally cartoonish.
The book has its share of entertaining oddities, but they aren't enough to make it more than a run-of-the-mill thriller.