In Marks’ (Dangerous Behavior, 2014, etc.) latest thriller, a detective investigates a wealthy real estate developer’s disappearance, and uncovers a mystery involving the man’s wife and a mysterious hit man.
Former East Harlem detective Neil Jericho moved to Montauk, Long Island, to escape a tragic, career-altering case and to be near his ex-wife and daughter. He expected a prosaic life as a cop in the Hamptons, but instead, he becomes embroiled in a mysterious missing person case. Real estate mogul Burton “Burt” Lloyd Cascadden’s empire is on the verge of collapse. His plans to build a luxury waterfront apartment building in Brooklyn have been delayed due to a legal dispute; his funds are tied up in the project, and he’ll be ruined financially if he loses the lawsuit. At the same time, his marriage to his second wife, Susannah, is floundering, and he blames her for the “negative energy” affecting his finances. Burt hires a hit man named Mort to kill his wife, but before Mort can act, Burt disappears. Jericho catches the case, but his investigation is soon complicated by a second disappearance, as well as by his own growing attraction to Susannah. Does she know more than she’s admitting, and will she put his life in danger? Overall, this is a well-paced mystery; Marks provides his intriguing principal characters with solid backgrounds without lingering too long on irrelevant minutiae, and he puts the central mystery front and center from the start. The relationship between Jericho and Susannah gives the book a good, romantic spark. The whodunit initially seems straightforward, but it offers surprise twists that add further dimension to the characters. That said, the novel does suffer a bit from spotty editing; early in the novel, for example, Jericho mentions that his favorite charity, Doctors Without Borders, received the “Noble” Peace Prize, rather than the Nobel. Also, later in the story, Jericho rather conveniently appears at Susannah’s house right when she needs him, without ever explaining how he knew she was in danger.
A fast-paced mystery with plenty of action and colorful characters, hampered by a few unlikely coincidences.