In Cory’s (Facade, 2016, etc.) latest series thriller, Boston architect and amateur sleuth Iris Reid faces off against an identity thief who becomes a dangerous stalker.
Although Iris makes her living in architecture, she’s previously worked with the police on murder and kidnapping cases. But her latest is her toughest one yet, as cops arrest her for an armed bank robbery that left a guard in critical condition. Security-camera footage from a car rental service shows someone, who certainly looks like her, renting the getaway car. Iris gets out on bail, but authorities don’t seem to buy her claim that her identity was stolen. Readers know that the thief is a woman named Rosica Bakalov, who later pushes her luck by looting Iris’ savings account and severely damaging her credit. Iris begins her search for Rosica by visiting an apartment that the thief rented in Iris’ name. Rosica becomes nervous when she realizes that her pursuer is getting close, but her anxiety soon turns into resentment. She believes that Iris has the life that she should have—including a handsome, successful chef boyfriend, Luc Cormier, whose new restaurant Iris is renovating. So the thief begins to shadow her victim, and her subtle attempts to torment the architect become more overt and increasingly hazardous. By introducing the character of Rosica early, Cory forgoes mystery in favor of suspense. She effectively provides insight into the villain’s mind, revealing it to be unstable and unpredictable. She also deftly establishes Iris as a woman who’s worried about her professional reputation, and introduces a subplot about a yoga instructor who may be a bit too hands-on with Luc. Meanwhile, the plot becomes more unnerving as it progresses, and an impressive twist leads to a lengthy final act featuring Rosica at her most ferocious. Iris, who eventually gets to use the karate that she often practices, is depicted as smart and tenacious, although it turns out that the identity theft is at least partly her own fault. Cory’s concise prose establishes a consistent pace that never wavers, and even her descriptions of architecture are exhilarating.
An engagingly nerve-wracking tale with gradually escalating suspense.