THIRD RAIL by Rory Flynn


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A second-generation cop banished from Boston to his little hometown seeks a comeback by tangling with a world-class designer drug.

Meet Third Rail, aka Thrilla, Mindfuck and ADA. It lifts you up, irons out your problems and revises your past mistakes so they’re actually empowering. You can see why everyone in Nagog, Massachusetts, would want it and why Mr. Mach, lord of the Zero Room, and his street-level associate Declan Nevis would be happy to supply it. There is a downside, though. Third Rail makes you feel so invincible that one apparent user, financier Robert Hammond, fatally crashes his car while he’s under the influence, and another, high school student Kelly Pierce, caps her doomed masquerade as a track star by running into a tree. Luckily for Nagog, but not so luckily for himself, Officer Edward Harkness is on hand, emptying parking meters ever since an accidental death in Boston stopped his career there dead in its tracks. Harkness thinks he’s hit bottom, but in fact, his slide has hardly begun. It continues when he takes up with artist/bartender Thalia Havoc, loses the Glock that’s been issued to him, duels repeatedly with his nemesis, Sgt. Dabilis, and attends the funeral of Capt. William Munro, the Nagog cop who’s always been another father to him. How can Harkness retrieve his weapon without tipping off his superiors that it’s gone, and what will he do with it once he’s got it again?

If you think this story sounds familiar, you’re right. Flynn’s glum debut is so intent on sketching in his depressive hero that it never gives him much of a mystery to solve or explains why two different women—hard-living Thalia and baker Candace Hammond—would be so interested in him.

Pub Date: June 10th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-544-22627-2
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2014


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