After years of establishing and protecting amnesiac Stonewall Jackson Calhoun’s identity as co-owner of a Maine tackle shop, federal agents return to make him an offer he can’t refuse.
Kate Balaban, Stoney’s partner in business and love, is about to lose the lease on Kate’s Bait and Tackle, and her MS-stricken husband Walter is about to be turned out of his nursing home—unless Calhoun, who was clearly trained as a federal operative before he lost his memory (Gray Ghost, 2007, etc.), takes a month off to do an unspecified favor for an unspecified government agency. Under cover of working as a fishing guide at upscale Loon Lake Lodge, Calhoun will ask discreet questions about the shooting of a federal agent named McNulty and his companion, 16-year-old townie Millie Gautier, which looked like a murder-suicide until the state medical examiner discovered that they’d died before they were shot. Don’t arouse suspicion, his contact, The Man in the Suit, tells him. Don’t blow your cover. Don’t breathe a word about what you’re doing to anyone, including Kate. And don’t even think about failing. The most immediate results of Calhoun’s sub rosa investigation are two more violent deaths, and his diagnosis that the case involves “too many dead bodies and not enough clues” is all too accurate. Eventually his questions precipitate a crisis, and he can then return home to find out whether Kate forgives him for abandoning her in total secrecy.
More nourishment for Field & Stream readers than for mystery fans.