Nick Reynolds, his pilot's rating barely a month old, drops off the radar at night over the Chesapeake Bay. Investigating agencies call it another tragic pilot error accident. No trace of the plane is found in the Bay's murky waters. Ike Schwartz, erstwhile sheriff of Picketsville, on vacation, is approached by Charlie Garland, an old CIA friend, to look into the disappearance. The missing pilot was engaged to Charlie's niece and the family is not dealing well with the lack of closure. More importantly, Nick, just before his disappearance, had placed a call to Charlie moments leading him to conclude something more than pilot error might be involved in the disappearance. Ike accepts the assignment as a favor to Charlie and also because vacations do not work for him. Ike's wide-eyed entry into a simple missing person's case catapults him into an international thriller � la Robert Ludlum with intimations of terrorism that might threaten the nation and its leaders. Clandestine operations, angry watermen, and out of place dredging spoil complicate Ike's efforts to unravel the mystery.
Ike Schwartz returns to his CIA roots in Ramsey's awkward cozy-thriller hybrid, the fifth in the series to feature the Picketsville, Va., sheriff (after 2008's Stranger Room). While vacationing on the Delaware shore, Schwartz is asked by former CIA comrade Charlie Garland to look into the mysterious disappearance of his niece's fianc�, Nick Reynolds. Reynolds, a pilot and ex-navy man, left an enigmatic voice mail message before he vanished off the radar over the Chesapeake Bay. Schwartz's investigations indicate that Reynolds may have witnessed activities that threaten national security. A Picketsville subplot involving satanic rituals by high school students and missing Communion vessels distracts rather than contributes to the narrative. Ramsay is best when contrasting the smooth professional spies and military men with lively amateurs like the cranky Bunky Crispins, a fiercely independent waterman who shows that it's possible to be a patriot and a rebel at the same time. (June)
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Poisoned Pen Press
June 04, 2008
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