My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Police sniper Bobby Dodge is called to a domestic disturbance, where he sees a man brandishing a gun at a frightened woman and child with a gun. It ends badly, with Dodge compelled to shoot him for the threat he poses. Dodge knows he’ll have to deal with the emotional consequences of killing someone, but he’s knocked for a loop when he learns that the man’s father, a corrupt, power mongering judge who wants Bobby charged with murder. Against his better judgment, Bobby responds when the new widow contacts him with a request for help, because the judge is going after custody of the little boy. This one dramatic night unleashes a trail of violence in which no one is certain who the bad guys are.
This is a fairly strong plot line, strong enough to carry the reader through to the end, but it’s undermined by its characters, which are two dimensional and unoriginal. There’s the cop who went into crime prevention because of his unhappy childhood, and can’t sustain a relationship. He’s assigned to see the police therapist, a wise, kindly woman who can fix him up in less than two months. The widow is a psychologically damaged victim of kidnapping and sex abuse, who now has difficulty with the simplest tasks of mothering, but with her stunning beauty can seduce any man. The antagonists are an unscrupulous judge, a spoiled rich kid, and a sex offender. There are a few interesting surprises toward the end, however, and, to the author’s credit, not all the loose ends are neatly tied together.