Random killings are bait to draw a Boston detective to the killing ground in this cop-vs.-military thriller.
Mike Houston is a homicide investigator from the hard-boiled school of fictional predecessors. He is a tough guy from Southie; a former Marine sniper, recovering alcoholic and ex-husband whose brother-in-law happens to be on the other side of the law. Perfect. Four people are shot and killed on a lovely summer day on Boston Common, and Mike thinks the hit is too precise, too clean to be other than a trained sniper kill. Why? The question and the answer go back years to a military deployment in Mogadishu. Former Marine Hardacker knows his stuff and begins each chapter with a quote from the Scout/Sniper Training Manual that serves as setup for the action following. Mike, his partner, Anne Bouchard, and crime boss/brother-in-law Jimmy O’Leary provide nonstop suspense through the streets of Boston and into the bush in Maine. When the killings get personal, Mike resorts to his own training as a Marine Scout/Sniper. Hardacker balances the action with scenes of Mike’s struggle to be a complete man, and the undercurrents are poignant: reconciliation with his estranged daughter, suppressed romantic interest for his partner, the balance of good and evil with his job, and the vigilante actions of Mike’s brother-in-law. All is not as it seems, and the thrill is in watching the whole revealed.
Hardacker handles the action and the characters well and ties things together in a suspenseful manner.