The FBI brings in astrophysicist, amputee, and former agent Dr. Lucas Page when a sniper takes aim in the middle of a New York blizzard.
It’s almost Christmas, and Columbia professor Lucas Page is looking forward to getting away from his students and spending a couple of weeks with his wife, Erin, a pediatric surgeon, and their four, soon to be five, adoptive children. It’s not to be. A sniper has killed Lucas’ old FBI partner, Doug Hartke, and Special Agent in Charge Brett Kehoe asks Lucas to use his unusual talent to tell him where the shot came from. It’s been a decade since the incident that nearly killed Lucas and cost him an arm, a leg, and an eye, but he can still pull off what, to others, seems like an impossible trick: In a blink, he can see the city as a “matrix of interconnected digits, a mosaic of numbers that stretched to the horizon.” It’s a singular talent that makes him a hot commodity in what turns out to be a doozy of a case. After all, making the shot that killed Doug Hartke “would be like trying to thread a needle while riding a mechanical bull set to Motörhead.” The eerily talented sniper continues to take out cops at an inhuman pace, and the FBI has a suspect, but Lucas doesn’t believe they’ve got the right guy and enlists a few of his sharpest students to help him find a connection between the victims. The cat-and-mouse game that follows takes Lucas to his limits and beyond and puts his family firmly in the crosshairs. Investing in Dr. Lucas Page and his extraordinary family is ridiculously easy, and, crankiness aside, he has a solid core of decency that shines through. Lucas is surrounded by genuinely interesting supporting characters, such as his de facto partner Agent Whitaker, who has a preternatural talent for anticipating what Lucas is thinking, and Dingo, a fellow amputee and former BBC combat photographer who lives over the Pages’ garage. Keep an eye out for a heart-pounding sequence involving Dingo and an actual broadsword. Pobi’s (American Woman, 2014, etc.) keen attention to the mechanics and challenges involved in having multiple prostheses is a plus, although readers will have to wait to find out more about the incident that caused Lucas’ life-altering injuries.
Relentless pacing, tight plotting, and a brainy, idiosyncratic new hero make this one a winner.