When a controversial female singer is murdered during a concert, forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett fears the act was political. The polarizing pop star was also the President's ex-wife, with secrets to die for. Now, Jo finds herself in a race to extinguish the conspiracy rumor mill-before it incites a level of violence that reaches America's highest corridors of power.
Jo Beckett investigates a national security threat in Edgar-winner Gardiner s absorbing third thriller to feature the San Francisco forensic psychiatrist (after The Memory Collector). When troubled country singer Tasia McFarland who happens to be the U.S. president s ex-wife dies of a gunshot wound to the neck during a stunt that goes awry at a huge outdoor concert, Jo s SFPD friend, Lt. Amy Tang, asks Jo to help determine whether Tasia, who fired a Colt .45 automatic as part of the stunt, shot herself or was shot by an assassin. The ballistics are inconclusive. As Jo looks into the sordid details of Tasia s life, an antigovernment extremist, Tom Paine, who runs a conspiracy-fueled Web site called Tree of Liberty, accuses people in the government in particular, President Robert McFarland of orchestrating Tasia s death and demands punishment for those responsible. Despite the broad scope of Jo s inquiry, Gardiner mostly manages to keep the far-reaching plot on course.
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Best Gardiner novel to date
Very much like a good Bruckheimer film (Remember the Titans, The Rock) - you can revisit it a dozen times and it doesn't seem dated and it's never anything but perfectly entertaining. Worth a first read and worth a second-through-twentieth.