The receding floodwaters of a hurricane reveal corruption at both ends of the social spectrum in Detective Eddy Harkness’ Boston.
Harkness’ Narco-Intel unit is supposed to stick to drugs, all the drugs, and nothing but the drugs. But sometimes it’s hard to walk away from other problems, as it is when Harkness and his partner, Detective Patrick Fitzgerald, drive through the Lower South End to make sure it’s been evacuated in anticipation of fast-moving Hurricane X and discover two people who haven’t left: veteran drug dealer Levon Ashmont, because he’s dead, and his deaf nephew, whose mother never took the trouble to name him, because he’s chained to a nearby radiator. Anyone else who risked his life to rescue the boy would be hailed as a hero, but Harkness has too much history (Third Rail, 2014) for that. Instead, he resigns himself to following the trail of Dark Horse, the villainous new blend of high-grade heroin and cheap brown lactose Ashmont was peddling and using to his own grave detriment. Even after Dark Horse claims the lives of two Harvard undergrads, though, it’s clear that Harkness isn’t fully committed to the job of rooting it out. Instead, he focuses more closely on the Harbormasters, a well-connected civic organization that seems to be the power behind Mayor Michael O’Mara; the invasion of his own hometown by the dozens of “wanderers,” displaced Bostonians whom seamstress/activist Jennet Townsend has led to Nagog to take advantage of a 200-year-old law that allows them to squat in local homeowners’ unused outbuildings; and the ticklish question of when and where he should pop the question to Candace Hammond.
Less a mystery, despite the multiple deaths by violence, than an old-fashioned tale of Boston’s political corruption that reads like a more hard-knuckle version of The Lash Hurrah.