In the opening pages of IMPOSTER, Megan Kelly is shopping with her son Matt, a new FBI agent, in Lexington Market of Baltimore. Upon returning home, Matt leaves his gun in the car and his mother moves ahead to the front door. As she uses her key to open the door, her phone rings, triggering an explosion that destroys the front of their house. Suddenly the person closest in his life is dead, and Matt is on a new mission to find the culprit. He has the unique ability to adapt completely to any situation. While handsome, he can hide his emotions and blend into any crowd. In sharp contrast, Matt's father, Paul, has an explosive side that Matt tries to avoid at all costs.
Paul Kelly, a Baltimore businessman, is in the final two weeks of a campaign for U.S. Senate when his wife is murdered. Paul buries his beloved wife, but doesn't slow down any of his campaign and in fact is infuriated that his son isn't following through with his promised involvement. Matt is much more interested though in solving the crime than his father's election bid.
A rivalry between federal government agents and the local Baltimore police is in full swing. Matt ignores this potential minefield between his FBI role and the police since he teams with homicide detective Lucas D'Amico, a veteran policeman, to follow every lead. As Matt searches for the killer, he discovers that his mother's murder is only a small part of a much larger conspiracy. Matt seeks and receives assistance from Allen Pecard, a British citizen who is an expert in unidentified explosives and imposters.
The trail leads to a long-ago death from the Vietnam days and involves a quick flight aboard a military transport to a base in England, so Matt can look for clues. Early in the book, readers meet Connie Morales, a rookie cop who has confronted a lieutenant about his sexual harassment. With the confrontation, Lieutenant Calfo, nicknamed Hands, is committed to making Connie's life miserable. She escapes her desk job on an innocent mission to retrieve some records, picks up Matt to take him along, and is drawn into a shootout situation. As Connie shows her expertise, Lucas moves her into homicide. Connie, Lucas and Matt become an unlikely trio working together to solve the mysterious explosion. The story even includes a touch of romance between Connie and Matt.
On the outside, Matt appears to be a calm, unassuming agent. Yet, ever since he was a teenager, he has trained in the martial arts, and at several points in the book his skills are used and surprise those around him. The drama and the frantic search for the killer leads Matt to an unexpected culprit.
Davis Bunn is a master at twists and turns in his plot. As a reader you believe the story is headed in a certain direction, but when you flip the page and experience another event, you are headed in the complete opposite direction. The characterization and dialogue move this book, and its riveting story demands the reader discover the imposter.
Reviewed by W. Terry Whalin on November 13, 2011