New York D.A. Butch Karp and his cast of regulars continue their inflationary spiral in a tale that combines a trial for murder with an attempt to thwart yet another terrorist plot.
All the evidence shows that after luring Gail Perez up to his penthouse hotel room with the promise of a juicy role, Broadway producer F. Lloyd Maplethorpe shot her to death when she didn’t come up with a quid pro quo. But all the evidence wasn’t enough for ADA Stewart Reed to convict Maplethorpe the first time around. Shortly after a meeting in which he urges Stewbie to adopt a less-is-more prosecution, Butch learns that his colleague has hanged himself—unless of course he had help—and decides to retry the case himself. Maybe it’ll keep his mind off the quadrilateral duel among Andrew Kane, the sociopathic terrorist risen from the grave to plan a fiendish new strike on New York City; David Grale, the equally indestructible lunatic who rules the Big Apple’s sewer system; the Sons of Man, a cadre of well-heeled right-wing zealots determined to seize unprecedented constitutional powers by blaming Iran for the impending outrage; and the ragtag counterterrorists, including Karp’s daughter Lucy, under the direction of FBI agent S.P. Jaxon. On the one side is the world’s simplest criminal proceeding, on the other an epic stew of double agents, double-crosses and slam-bang action, with the fate of the free world hanging in the balance. Tanenbaum cuts back and forth between the two stories as if they were equally weighty—and in a way they are, because each one is headed toward an absolutely forgone conclusion. “Are we stuck on this counterterrorism carrousel the rest of our lives?” wonders Lucy. Apparently so, since her author isn’t willing to write finis to any of the continuing plotlines that have increasingly encrusted his recent work (Fury, 2005, etc.).
Domestic drama meets domestic terrorism. As one of the several criminal masterminds puts it, “What is this, a comic book?”