Terrorists don’t need bombs to blow up a financial system, private investigator Graham Gage learns the hard way in the not-quite-so-successful follow-up to Final Target (2010).
In the nation’s financial world, the clouds are darkening, according to Federal Reserve Chairman Milton Abrams. It’s a gut feeling, growing on him that the United States has become vulnerable to inimical forces sophisticated enough about money to use it like a weapon of mass destruction. Nothing definite, still unsettling things have been happening, thinks Abrams. A brilliant economist, Hani Ibrahim, has disappeared after falling from grace. An ex-FBI agent, Michael Hennessy, who also fell from grace, sort of, has been reported as a suicide. No one but Abrams frets much about the Ibrahim-Hennessy connection, but that doesn’t stop the newly appointed Fed Chairman from worrying. Yes, he’s aware that Hennessy had been reproaching himself bitterly for besmirching Ibrahim’s reputation—plausible, perhaps, as a suicide motive—but he knows, too, that there are those in various corridors of power who’d be pleased if both men were vaporized, one way or another. Some of those corridors are in far-flung places, of course, as far-flung as China, for instance. That being the case, the question robbing Abrams of sleep is when does a suicide only resemble a suicide? Or, is the odor he’s been sniffing recently the acrid smell of financial conspiracy? Enter Gage, San Francisco PI, summoned by Abrams to find out what Hennessy knew that might have made him inconvenient enough to murder. Tough, resourceful and bulldog stubborn, Gage goes to work, certain that in focusing on Hennessy he’s also following the money.
Ponzi schemes and the like are so dutifully explained by Gore that they undercut narrative drive and dampen excitement. Too bad, because there are good things in this novel.