BOMBSHELL features the husband and wife FBI team of Dillon Savich and Sherlock, along with their latest Washington, D.C. recruit, FBI Special Agent Griffin Hammersmith, whose expertise lies in tracking criminals.
On his way to Washington, Hammersmith plans to spend a night with Special Agent Ruth Noble and her husband, Sheriff Dix Noble, in Maestro, Virginia. There, he will visit his sister, Delsey Freestone, a music student at the prestigious Stanislaus Academy. While he is en route, Ruth calls him to help with a case in Maestro. A student has been discovered beaten and unconscious in her apartment. Her bloody bathroom is the scene of a murder, but the man’s body is no longer there. Hammersmith now hears that the injured student is his own sister, thus delaying his arrival in D.C.
Meanwhile, Agents Savich and Sherlock have their hands full with the discovery of a young man’s naked dead body at the base of the Lincoln Memorial during a snowstorm. Within the hour, a video of the grisly scene appears on YouTube. Identification reveals the college student to be Tommy Cronin, the grandson of Palmer Cronin, a powerful Washington figure and former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank. The elder Cronin had stepped aside from his position after the banking crisis and collapse of the economy. No doubt numerous victims of the collapse held him responsible. But Savich and Sherlock cannot fathom that revenge would include the murder of a young college student. Savich informs Hammersmith by phone about the case but insists that he remain in Maestro with his sister.
"BOMBSHELL leaves readers exhausted by the multiple plot turns but totally satisfied with their conclusions. It takes suspense to its fullest and makes for yet another winner from Coulter."
In Maestro, Hammersmith discovers that Delsey is the student hand-picked for special attention by Dr. Elliot Hayman, the Stanislaus Director. She had consumed too much of Hayman’s special margarita blend that night at a private party. Hosted by the Director’s twin brother, Professor Salazar, a visiting staff member from Spain, Delsey felt the liquor and sneaked away from the house to return home.
Catherine Coulter introduces a host of minor characters in Maestro, some of whom will play major roles later in the story. She drops in small hints to implicate multiple suspects in both cases. One wonders if either or both of the twin brothers are responsible for the death of the DEA agent, killed in Delsey’s bathroom. Delsey discovers the body, is clobbered on the head and ends up at the hospital, where her memory gradually returns. The lone detail she remembers is hearing two Hispanic male voices in her bathroom before losing consciousness. Hammersmith, along with the Nobles, promises to solve the crime before moving on to D.C. Savich offers any help he can send, keeping in close touch.
Meanwhile, the D.C. crime becomes more complicated with each interview. Three young men, friends since childhood and all college students together, become a primary focus. Stony Hart is the computer nerd of the three, while Peter Biaggini is the self-styled leader. Stony’s father is an investment tycoon who might have suffered in the banking debacle. Peter’s father made his fortune in the beauty supply business that was loathed by his son. The interviews unearth others with a possible motive, including a girlfriend shared by both Tommy and Peter.
Coulter writes detail and character development with skill. Even minor players receive the full explanation they deserve. Some never surface as individuals on the page, but hold key clues in solving the crime. BOMBSHELL leaves readers exhausted by the multiple plot turns but totally satisfied with their conclusions. It takes suspense to its fullest and makes for yet another winner from Coulter. One hopes that her storytelling will include the handsome Griffin Hammersmith in future installments.
Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on August 9, 2013