An innocent woman flees the mob and the FBI in Muller’s (’Tis the Season, 2017, etc.) series-starting thriller.
Jacqueline “Jax” Duncan is a 24-year-old Stanford University grad from a wealthy family who works at the California State Budget Office. Soon, though, she’s a down-in-the-dirt fugitive, running for her life in Jimmy Choo heels—a consequence of her decision to hand-deliver a stack of documents to the home of a state senator who inadvertently left them on her desk. She stumbles upon a murder in progress at the legislator’s place, so she bolts. The killer, a hitman, knows that he has to eliminate Jax, the sole witness to his crime, or he’ll be the mob’s next victim. Later, when blood and fingerprint evidence points to Jax, the FBI joins the chase. She’s heard rumors that local law enforcement is in the mob’s pocket, so she seemingly has nowhere to turn. Soon, FBI agent Lincoln Montgomery gets within striking distance of Jax, who grabs the first weapon she sees—a toilet tank lid—and manages to use it to get away. Jax goes on to hole up for four years in a nondescript Texas town, where she carves a new identity as a waitress. But rest assured, the mob and the FBI haven’t forgotten about her. Later, the senator’s murderer, whom Jax nicknames “Ponytail,” fumbles an assignment to kill Montgomery—which a mob boss orders him to rectify. Throughout this novel, Muller’s considerable storytelling talent will keep readers engaged; indeed, her skillful writing calls Sue Grafton’s and Janet Evanovich’s work to mind. Readers will find Jax to be an appealing protagonist, even if some of the people around her may think that she’s “stuck-up.” Muller has a firm grasp of the innocent-character-on-the-run subgenre, and she also serves up vivid descriptions, such as one of a corpse that starts to “spew blood like an overheated can of beer” and an aging mob boss who “looked like death warmed over and served with a side of fries.”
A sharply written thriller that will likely appeal to fans of the genre.