From Publishers Weekly
Lt. Lou Boldt is still top cop in the ninth installment of Pearson's Seattle Police Department series. (Undercurrents; No Witnesses; etc.). This time the case involves Boldt's wife, Liz, who's weathered many a storm throughout her marriage: chemotherapy, a separation, the kidnapping of their daughter and now the revelation of her affair with David Hayes, a computer whiz at the bank where she's an executive. Hayes embezzled $17 million and went to jail, but now he's free and the never-recovered money has both cops and robbers interested in his whereabouts. Liz had nothing to do with the theft, but Russian mobster Gen. Yasmani Svengrad (known as the Sturgeon General because he's the head of a caviar importing company) thinks the money belongs to him, and she's the key to getting it back. It's all extremely complicated, but with the help of Sgt. John LaMoia and Boldt's former lover police, psychologist Daphne Matthews, who is now living with LaMoia, Boldt hopes not only to solve the case but to protect his wife's reputation and keep his marriage from foundering. The difficulty is that Boldt's personal problems, which mount to near soap opera levels, tend to distract from the more interesting crime elements. Pearson's uneven writing too often veers into the mawkish when attempting to reveal Boldt's inner feelings ("She touched him once lightly on the arm as he opened the door. The tenderness of that gesture cut him to his core and he felt emotions ripple through him"). Pearson wisely eschews the sentimentalism as he builds to a climactic finale in which Boldt cleverly manipulates friend and foe alike to save Liz and serve justice.
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Pearson found a perfect groove early on for his much-acclaimed Lou Boldt-Daphne Matthews series, and it has been running flawlessly through eight installments. He changes focus this time, moving forensic psychologist Matthews to the background and elevating the wife of Seattle police Lieutenant Boldt to center stage. What results is a novel that adds depth and resonance to the ongoing series but that, as a stand-alone thriller, proves slightly less galvanizing than usual, which is not to say that there isn't plenty of pulse-pounding suspense and lovingly laid-out procedural detail. The plot revolves around the reappearance of David Hayes, with whom Liz Boldt had an affair and who embezzled millions from the bank where she is a high-ranking officer. Hayes is out of prison and needs Liz to access the bank's mainframe if he is to recover the embezzled millions, now dangling in cyberspace, and avoid the wrath of the Russian mob. In order to find the money and keep Liz out of harm's way, Boldt must balance the contradictory roles of jealous husband and objective investigator. Give Pearson credit for turning away, albeit temporarily, from the edgy relationship between Boldt and Matthews and tackling instead a much trickier topic: the sinews that hold together a long-term marriage. No easy task for any writer, especially one who must simultaneously face the plot-driven demands of the high-octane thriller. Mission accomplished, even if the plot burns a slightly lower-grade fuel this time. Bill OttCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved