The Stevie Marriner–Neil Gulliver series (Hot Paint, 2002, etc.) lies fallow while Levinson introduces newly widowed Katie McCrory, who’s chasing the murderous Plowman.
Frankie McCrory’s been shot and left for dead in a Belfast pub—probably by the dreaded Thirty-Two, a splinter group of Brit-haters cutthroat enough to intimidate the IRA. Frankie used to be their boss, but politics can undermine trust, and it could be that his old friends think he has new allegiances. On the other hand, maybe it’s his wife’s own outfit that did in “her beautiful boy.” Katie’s a spy who works for a US counter-terrorism agency with the Bond-like name of TRIAD (Terrorism, Riots, Insurrection, Assassination, Devastation), headed by a supreme pragmatist. Walter Burkes moves in dubious ways, and Katie has learned through bitter experience how fond he is of the tactical double cross. So in this corner is Katie, craving vengeance but unsure who to aim at. In that corner is the Thirty-two, convinced that their arcane worldview calls for the assassination of a respected African leader. And in this other corner, TRIAD huffs and puffs after terrorism in all its guises. The many stalwarts who seek the Plowman finally wind up in Pasadena, California, where buckets of blood are filled and much happens without clarifying a muddled plot.
Trashy, but not without its guilty pleasures.