When Fang Mulheisen's mother nearly dies in a bomb explosion at an otherwise peaceful environmental demonstration, he investigates the attack and uncovers a sleezy conspiracy of smugglers, international terrorists, and rogue government behind the crime.
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The 10th installment in Jackson's series to feature Detective Sergeant Mulheisen (after 2002's Badger Games) delivers sturdy entertainment, though the post-9/11 plot hinges on the sometimes confusing interactions among Mulheisen, criminal Joe Service and FBI operative Colonel Vern Tucker. The bombing of a municipal building that nearly kills Mulheisen's mother leads the detective to the backwoods of Michigan, where he's threatened by militias and the enigmatic M.P. Luck, who's perhaps the book's most intriguing character. Meanwhile, Service, after settling down into a new life with his common-law wife Helen Sedlacek, finds himself in danger from unknown parties. He seeks out Mulheisen, and together they work to untangle a mystery that involves Luck, various governmental agencies and an old nemesis. Inevitably, they fall in with Tucker, who likes to play factions in the intelligence community against each other while advancing his own shadowy aims. Fortunately for our heroes, the bad guys are often ineffectual and less than bright. Despite what seem like high stakes, no one ever really suffers because of those stakes—everyone's just a little too nice. A subplot in which Sedlacek searches for her missing previous husband feels like padding. The ending neither disappoints nor rises above reader expectations; it could easily be the climax of a solid action film.
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With La Donna Detroit (2000) and Badger Games (2002), the focus of Jackson's superb series has been more on Mob fixer Joe Service and his lover, former Mafia princess Helen Sedlacek, and less on the nominal series hero, Detroit cop Fang Mulheisen. Fang returns this time, although now as an ex-cop, having retired to nurse his mother after she was injured in an apparent terrorist bombing of a suburban Detroit courthouse. That bombing has the curious effect of making partners of former antagonists Service and Mulheisen. Joining forces for different reasons to track down the bombers, these strange bedfellows--two of the most appealing, well-grounded characters in the genre--traipse about in the woods near Traverse City, sparring with a local militia roughneck. Jackson tackles the whole Patriot Act mess from an engaging everyman point of view, showing how "homeland security" offers a convenient umbrella under which cammo-wearing crackpots can raise havoc. Crackpots notwithstanding, this installment offers a thoroughly entertaining, if rather light interlude in a usually quite dark series. Bill Ott
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Book Description Hodder Mobius, 1997. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0340672315