After nine years of being AWOL, Jane Whitefield McKinnon, the world’s foremost specialist in hiding fugitives from their pursuers, is back with a vengeance.
Christine Monahan, 20 and pregnant, staggers into Buffalo General Hospital asking if anyone can direct her to Jane Whitefield. Her search would be easier if she knew that Dr. Carey McKinnon’s wife, the committee chair who’s just capped a successful fundraising effort, was the woman she was looking for. As it is, Christine doesn’t meet Jane until after the hospital has been bombed in an attempt to flush her out into the open. It’s only the first of many strategies employed by the six hired guns sociopathic San Diego developer Richard Beale has sent after the ex-employee who was also his ex-lover. Keeping six people on salary 24/7 runs into serious money, but Richard has compelling motives for hunting down Christine. It isn’t enough that she broke off the affair because he’d been so abusive, or that she’s learned some unsavory secrets about the family business Richard runs for his impossibly demanding parents, who consider him “a bully, a sneak, a loafer, a coward.” In addition, the baby she’s carrying has become his sole hope of keeping any claim to the family fortune. So Richard needs Christine and her unborn child back quickly and alive. Putting five years of domestic peace behind her, Jane snaps smartly to attention—“I have to leave tonight,” she tells her long-suffering husband—keeping Christine half a step ahead of her pursuers until she can get her settled in Minneapolis under a new identity. But since Jane’s clients never enjoy true peace, only breath-catching intervals before the next round of action, it’s never in doubt that sooner or later Richard’s crew will come calling in the Twin Cities, kicking off the last, and most generic, phase of this high-potency thriller.
For the most part, Jane’s many fans, who’ve missed her ever since Blood Money (2000), will be glad to see her at any price.