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In PARADOX, FBI agents Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock have been tasked with solving the near-kidnapping of their five-year-old son, Sean, from his bedroom.

The setting shifts to Lake Massey near Willicott, Maryland. Fog covers the water, giving Chief Ty Christie an eerie view from her lakefront porch while sipping her coffee. Two figures in a boat appear. One stands, waves a fist in the other’s face and cracks an oar down hard on his companion’s head. The man pumps his fist, then shoves the body from the boat and into the water. Ty is aghast at what she thinks has happened. But the attacker shocks again by checking the oar for blood and pumps his fist once more. He rows back toward shore, disappearing into the fog.

"The plot twists, turns, points in one direction and then another, leaving the characters bewildered and frustrated. "

Chief Christie contacts her office, calls for the lake rescue team and launches her boat, speeding to the approximate murder site. A single diver brings up a weathered skull, long-submerged but not today’s victim. It is turned over to be identified by forensics and looks like a 50-year-old drowning. Christie calls for a dredging team to access the lake before running to her problem of the day: the annual book festival, drawing tourists by the score and needing extra security.

Savich, working in his spare time on the identification of Sean’s potential killer, has found little to connect the dots. His boss, Jimmy Maitland, has given him a task: go to Willicott, Maryland, to identify a corpse that could be Sala Porto, an FBI agent who was vacationing there with his girlfriend, Octavia Ryan.

Savich and Sherlock make it a family outing because Sean’s favorite author will be attending the book festival. There, Dillon identifies the victim, Octavia, and meets with Christie. Rather than falling to local jurisdiction, the case goes to the FBI because Octavia had been a federal prosecutor for six months. Christie muddies her hand in the investigation when the lake dredging turns up multiple bones, skulls and unsolved cases.

The plot twists, turns, points in one direction and then another, leaving the characters bewildered and frustrated. A single item, a unique belt buckle found among the bones, may be the key to unlocking the secrets buried in the depths of the lake.

Catherine Coulter does not disappoint in her 22nd FBI thriller. An escaped psychopath bent on murder must be caught, an FBI agent must be located and found either guilty or not guilty, the bones of numerous supposed victims must be identified, and lives will change when the puzzles are solved. PARADOX, though a lengthy read, keeps the suspense ratcheted up until the final words.

Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on September 21, 2018

by Catherine Coulter

  • Publication Date: February 5, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • ISBN-10: 1501138138
  • ISBN-13: 9781501138133