A wave of panic envelops the Windy City after a bloodthirsty killer and trained Army sniper called Robles shoots and kills a woman on a train platform and then later executes another lady as she rides a silver L train.
Private eye and former Chicago police officer Michael Kelly is drawn into the case when he chases the killer right after the murder on the platform. While in pursuit of the shooter, Kelly is ambushed in a deserted alleyway. A man in a ski mask puts a gun to Kelly’s head, and the PI is certain he will be killed. But instead, the masked man whispers to him, knocks him out cold, and leaves him for the authorities to find.
After Kelly recovers, he is convinced that the culprit has an accomplice, but the FBI dismisses the claim and has their own ideas about how the ambush went down. Hours after the earlier attacks, a holy water font at Holy Name cathedral is spiked with a deadly chemical substance. With the FBI leading the high-profile case, Kelly is asked to assist. He enlists the expertise of Hubert Russell, a twenty-something cyber hacker who had helped Kelly solve a murder while the young man worked at the Cook County Bureau of Land Records.
While Chicago PD Detective Vince Rodriguez watches Kelly’s back, and with FBI agent Katherine Lawson not far behind, the killer taunts Kelly and even sends him clues. As the tension mounts, Kelly starts to connect the dots. While the FBI plays the case by the book, Mayor John J. Wilson wants the matter dispatched quickly and the killer taken care of --- no questions asked.
With grit and grim determination, Kelly sets out to solve the case and begins to see a connection between the current situation and a historic catastrophe that has haunted him since he was a child.
In THE THIRD RAIL, Michael Harvey has created another first-rate thriller set in the Windy City. Fast-paced action, dialogue that crackles, realistic characters, a killer on the loose, no-holds-barred Chicago politics, a scandal within the Chicago Archdiocese, a historic catastrophe, and a Pentagon cover-up with potentially dangerous consequences contribute to an exciting, suspenseful novel, with a promise of more thrills to come.
Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt (firstname.lastname@example.org) on January 23, 2011