This time the chips are truly down for Hollywood Jake Donovan. A government scientist, Dr. William Rush, has been found dead in a North Carolina state park; he'd been doing sensitive research -- possibly a weapons project -- and he'd been brutally murdered. His colleague, Janice Callahan, is also missing...A crime of passion? Or a threat to national security? Jake Donovan -- down on his luck after being mysteriously yanked from the investigation of an assassination attempt on the First Lady -- and his Broken Wings team are assigned to the case by their wealthy benefactor Mrs. De Vries, who also happens to be Janice Callahan's aunt.
But it's not going to be easy for Jake. As he digs deeper into the mystery he is shot at, his car is blown up, and his fingerprints keep turning up where they shouldn't. His personal life is no picnic either: His Broken Wings colleague and girlfriend Katie leaves him for her ex-husband; his former wife has had it with the danger his work brings to her and their two children; and he is plagued by nightmares of the Black Diamond kidnapper, the one criminal whom he has never been able to catch. But the worst blow comes when Donovan's adored son, Eric, is abducted right out of his own bed. Hollywood Jake Donovan finally knows what it's like to be a victim.
In their efforts to save the country, as well as the offspring of one of their own, the Broken Wings team races across America on the trail of a complicated conspiracy. Can they get to the center of the web in time? Once again, John Douglas has delivered a mesmerizing and edge-of-the-seat ride into the world of criminal profiling.
The midair explosion of a plane reportedly carrying the First Lady gets Douglas's sequel to Broken Wings off to a galloping start. Government officials hastily shoo swashbuckling hero Jake Donovan, a former FBI profiler and acclaimed nonfiction author, away from the scene of the plane crash, and before Jake can raise a fuss, he and his crack Broken Wings team (an independently funded cadre of retired elite agents) get an assignment much closer to home. Millicent DeVries, their wealthy benefactress, asks them to investigate the North Carolina murder of prominent research scientist William Rush. DeVries's married niece Janice is missing and may have been sleeping with Rush. The DeVries case looks like as if it might lead them back to the plane explosion, but the work of the team keeps being disrupted. DeVries family infighting threatens the Wings' funding. Jake's lover, Katie McManus, a crime scene investigator and Broken Wings member, inconveniently decides to cool their affair. And while Jake has heretofore had a good relationship with ex-wife Toni and their two children, Toni goes ballistic over the high-profile nature of the case. Her fears turn out to be justified: before long, their son, Eric, is kidnapped. With this sophomore mystery, Douglas drifts away from the sober, methodical, intricate presentation of forensic facts that won his first novel and earlier nonfiction well-deserved acclaim. Here, the plot is cluttered and not terribly suspenseful, with a resolution as neat as it is predictable. Broken Wings fans may feel this sequel is rushed and disappointing.