This is book #3 is a series featuring FBI agent Carla Windermere & BCA Detective Kirk Stevens. At first glance, they're an odd couple. He's middle aged, slightly paunchy & going bald. She's young, black & gorgeous. What's not obvious are the reasons they make a great team. They're both smart, skilled & love to catch bad guys.
A couple of times a month they meet for coffee in St. Paul, a quiet interlude in their busy lives. But sitting outside enjoying the sun one day, they watch in horror as a man gets out of his car & is promptly shot. In the ensuing chaos, Carla & Kirk chase the sniper. They don't usually come armed for a coffee date & can only watch as the gunman calmly drives away, leaving them with just the memory of his dead eyes.
Game on. The investigation begins & Kirk is soon sucked back into his old role of liaising with the feds, leaving his wife less than impressed. The police procedural/suspense aspect of the plot is suitably complex & fast paced as the duo chase the killer from Minnesota to Florida, Vegas & back again. It's more realistic than a lot of similar books in the genre in that much of their progress is due to long hours sifting through paperwork as opposed to car chases & shootouts (don't worry, there's some of those, too). Unfortunately, it's slow going & as they struggle to put the pieces together, the body count rises.
In alternating chapters we travel with Lind, the broken young man responsible for the deaths. He's a vet with PTSD who has been exploited & further traumatized by a cold, greedy man who runs a specialized website. You can order anything online these days, why not a hit? Ah...the joys of capitalism. Despite his actions, you feel for this guy who can literally no longer remember where he came from, who he loves or even his own name.
There are plenty of peripheral characters to flesh out the story with side plots, notably FBI agent Mather & Kirk's long suffering wife, Nancy. The tension slowly builds until you reach the last few chapter & it becomes a legitimate page turner as the principles meet in the inevitable showdown.
This is a quick read that is well paced to hold your attention. I really enjoyed the setting, premise & characters. My only quibble was the added subplot concerning a possible personal relationship between Kirk & Carla. This seemed forced to me as if the author was told to include a romantic angle. I never felt any sexual tension between them & it just wasn't believable along side repeated references to Kirk's happy marriage.
It would work better as a straight up police procedural with two people who click professionally but have separate private lives. But to be fair, I have jumped into this series at book #3 so maybe this is something that was better explained or developed in the previous two.
In the end, the good guys prevail & Kirk is offered a change in his job description, providing an interesting set-up for the next instalment. If you're a faithful fan of the series, no doubt you'll enjoy this as well.