A pleasing family vacation in a remote, almost idyllic spot comes to an end when the derecho hits. The derecho, a hurricane on steroids, separates Cork and his daughter Jenny from the rest of the O’Connors, almost kills them and lands them on a seemingly deserted island, and smack in the middle of a blood-soaked mystery. In an old, abandoned trappers’ cabin they find a girl, a teenager, murdered. They also find her baby very much alive—howling and hungry. Cork asks the obvious questions—who, how and why?—but Jenny’s response is markedly different. She’s drawn to the now motherless little boy, a reaction so intense that it startles even her. She will serve and protect the child from all threats and dangers, no matter what forms they take. They arrive, soon enough, in the form of a gunman, stalking them. Is he the murderer returning to the scene of his crime? Is he trying to rid the world of all possible witnesses? Or—to Jenny the thought could hardly be more terrifying—does he want the baby? But first things first. Cork, weaponless, must now invent a strategy for coping with an armed predator who makes no secret of his unequivocal enmity, and then—Cork being Cork—he must find his way back to who, how and why, though he senses almost from the outset that the answers will have unintended, unwelcome consequences.
Dependable Krueger has another all-out go at good versus evil, but in this, the 12th of his much-respected series, the straight-arrow, exemplary O’Connors might strike readers as a shade too exemplary.